Closing Arguments Delayed In John Williams’ Murder Trial
The murder trial of the man accused of killing Somerset County Sheriff's Corporal Eugene Cole has been delayed until Tuesday.
John Williams decided not to take the stand in his own defense last Friday, so closing arguments were expected to happen today. But the Morning Sentinel reports that defense attorneys have asked for a delay in the trial until Tuesday, when it's possible they may call another witness to the stand. Williams is accused of fatally shooting Corporal Cole, who had approached him outside a home where Williams once lived. A few days earlier, Cole arrested Williams' girlfriend on drug charges. Williams then took Cole's marked cruiser, prompting a four-day manhunt that included help from the FBI.
WMTW-TV reports testimony during the trial focused on Williams' state of mind, at the time of the shooting. Both the prosecution and the defense agree that Williams pulled the trigger, but defense lawyers claim that he was too intoxicated to recognize what he was doing. They compared his state of mind to an animal who chews off its own leg to get out of a trap. However, prosecutors allege that he knew what he was doing when he pointed the gun at Corporal Cole's neck and fired. He allegedly told police later that he had 'eliminated' the officer.
The defense also questioned whether Williams was in his right mind when he was taken into custody. Defense attorneys allege that the suspect was beaten and subjected to long hours of interrogation without food, and that led to his confession. The final two witnesses to testify on Friday were psychologists who talked about a person's state of mind if they're hungry and going through withdrawal from drug use. The prosecution asked the witnesses whether they were implying that John Williams' confession was coerced, and both answered no.
The trial was moved to Cumberland County, in an effort to find an impartial jury.