The Death of Corporal Eugene Cole

The attorney for a man who's accused of killing a Somerset County Sheriff's Corporal says his client was beaten before confessing.

Lewiston-based attorney, Verne Paradie Jr. represents John Williams, who's accused of shooting and killing Corporal Eugene Cole in April. Police say he then stole Cole's cruiser, went to a Norridgewock convenience store and stole cigarettes, before disappearing.  A manhunt ensued, with police finally catching up to Williams hiding out in the woods.

Paradie claims that his client's confession should be inadmissible, because he says Williams was beaten by arresting officers and then threatened with more violence if he didn't cooperate. In addition, he says, his client was going through withdrawal from opiates at the time of the confession and wasn't in complete control of his faculties.

According to, the motion states, "Obtaining confessions by physical abuse constitutes an egregious violation of an underlying principle of our criminal justice system...that ours is an accusatorial and not an inquisitorial system."

Paradie says officers beat and kicked Williams when he was taken into custody, despite what they say was 'zero resistance' on the part of their client. They say the officers then held his head up by his hair, 'like a game trophy,' and took a picture.

Law enforcement officials, at the time of Williams' arrest, said that his eye was blackened as he offered 'limited resistance' to being taken into custody. As for the picture, officials say Williams resisted having his photo taken, which was necessary to confirm his identity.

61-year-old Eugene Cole became the first Maine police officer fatally shot in the line of duty in 30 years. Williams has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

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