John D. Williams, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy, is seeking a new trial because prosecutors withheld evidence about an arresting officer’s disciplinary record.

John D. Williams, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole, is shown in 2019. He is once again seeking a new trial. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

It’s the second appeal to the state supreme court for Williams, who authorities say killed Cpl. Eugene Cole and stole his police vehicle, triggering a massive manhunt in April 2018. Oral arguments are scheduled for next week.

The Attorney General’s Office contends the trooper’s disciplinary record did not rise to the level of requiring a new trial, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Williams’ attorney previously argued that arresting officers beat the defendant during his arrest and that Williams confessed to the killing out of fear he’d be beaten again.

The judge concluded that police did not beat a confession out of Williams and declined to grant a new trial based on the disciplinary issue.

Trooper Tyler Maloon was disciplined for failing to report another officer’s misconduct – allegedly a state police lieutenant who punched Williams.


“The evidence that Trooper Maloon was disciplined for not reporting misconduct of another state trooper is both exculpatory and impeaching,” defense attorney Verne Paradie wrote.

Cpl. Eugene Cole

The Supreme Judicial Court previously rejected an appeal in which Williams argued that a re-enactment of the shooting should not have been seen by jurors during the trial.

Prosecutors say Williams was angry over his girlfriend’s arrest and wanted to avoid going to jail himself when he shot Cole on April 25, 2018, in Norridgewock.

What followed over the next four days was a sprawling, frantic manhunt involving an estimated 200 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and game wardens from all over Maine and from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as federal agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Border Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service. Helicopters were deployed when the weather allowed.

Cole was the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years in Maine.

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