The man found guilty of murdering a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy two years ago plans to appeal his conviction this month before the Maine supreme court.

He is one of two convicted murderers planning high-court appeals this month.

Cpl. Eugene Cole

Cpl. Eugene Cole was gunned down by John D. Williams in Norridgewock in April 2018. The murder attracted national attention.

Cole was the first Maine police officer fatally shot in the line of duty in three decades, and his death began a high-profile manhunt that ended days later when Williams was found hiding at a remote cabin.

Williams and Kandee Weyland Collind, who pleaded guilty to stabbing her ex-husband, Scott Weyland, to death in front of their two children in 2017 during a bitter custody dispute, are scheduled to make separate remote video appearances before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Sept. 15, according to the court’s oral argument schedule and docket.

Lewiston attorney Verne E. Paradis Jr., who represents both Williams and Collind, will present oral arguments in their defense. Assistant Attorney General Donald W. Macomber is representing the state in both cases. Paradis could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Supreme Court docket indicates that Williams will argue that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial on grounds that an in-court demonstration of Cole’s fatal shooting was prejudicial.

Williams will also argue that the trial court erred when it denied in part his motion to suppress his confession to police because he had not waived his Miranda rights and his statements to police were not made voluntarily. He will also contend that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing a life sentence.

In September 2019, Justice Robert Mullen handed down the maximum life sentence, stating that Williams had not taken responsibility or shown any remorse for shooting the 61-year-old Cole during a confrontation in Norridgewock.

“Let there be no mistake about it,” Mullen told the courtroom during the 2019 sentencing. “Cpl. Cole was murdered not because of drugs, not because the perpetrator had a poor childhood, but because John Williams pulled the trigger on a firearm placed almost up against the corporal’s neck.”

In its response to Williams’ Supreme Court appeal, the Maine Attorney General’s Office argues that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Williams’ motion for a mistrial because of the in-court demonstration by a shooting reconstruction expert. The AG’s office also argues that the court properly denied Williams’ motion to suppress his confession, and that the sentence it imposed was not done in an illegal manner “for his execution-style murder of Corporal Eugene Cole.”

Kandee Weyland Collind enters a courtroom in York County Superior Court on Oct. 21, 2019, for her sentencing for the 2017 murder of her ex-husband, Scott Weyland. Collind was sentenced to 32 years in prison Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

During Collind’s trial, attorneys and family members described a bitter custody dispute that dragged on for months before it ended in the driveway of the couple’s Acton home. The couple married in 2009 and separated in 2016 with a judge granting Scott Weyland custody of their two children. Collind received the final divorce judgment in the mail the day before she stabbed her ex-husband to death.

According to the state’s court filing, Collind on Aug. 27, 2018, changed her plea to guilty on the murder charge. In exchange, the state agreed to ask for no more than a 32-year prison term. But on Oct. 26, 2018, Collind filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea.

Collind claims she did not voluntarily plead guilty because she had not taken her prescribed medications on the day she entered the plea. The trial court in July 2019 denied her motion to rescind the plea. Collind was sentenced in October 2019 to 32 years in prison.

In her appeal to the Supreme Court, Collind will argue that the trial court abused its discretion by denying her motion to withdraw her guilty plea and by sentencing her to 32 years – the maximum allowed in the plea agreement.

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