John Williams' Murder Trial

A hearing in Portland this week will determine whether to admit into evidence the confession of a man accused of killing a Maine Sheriff's Corporal.

John Williams is charged with murder for the shooting death of Somerset County Sheriff's Corporal Eugene Cole in April of 2018. Attorneys for the 30-year-old defendant claim police 'beat and pummeled' their client until he confessed. They also allege that their client was experiencing opioid withdrawal, which contributed to his actions at the time of the interrogation.

WGME-TV reports Justice Robert Mullen will hold a hearing on the motion Thursday and Friday at the Cumberland County Courthouse, where the case was moved after a request for a change of venue. Williams' trial is set to begin in June. The Attorney General's Office had not filed a motion to oppose the defendant's motion to suppress, but is expected to do it this week. Deputy AG Lisa Marchese has asked for records from the ambulance service that treated Williams after a three-day manhunt that concluded with his capture in Norridgewock.

After his arrest in April, Williams allegedly told police that he shot Cole because he was angry that the deputy had arrested his fiancee on drug charges a few days earlier. In June, however, Williams pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

The defense is expected to argue that Williams' statements are inadmissible because they were obtained using 'brutal force' and 'coercive tactics.' Williams had a black eye in his mugshot that Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said occurred while the suspect put up limited resistance. The extent of that resistance wasn't specified.

The hearing is scheduled for this week, but there's no timeline for when a decision will be rendered.

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