PORTLAND – It didn’t take long for a jury to deem John Williams guilty of shooting Cpl. Eugene Cole last April.
The jury of six men and six women took less than three hours on Tuesday to make their decision. Cole’s family responded with tears and, afterward, thanks.
“We’re all very happy with the outcome,” said Tom Cole, Eugene Cole’s brother. “We want to thank the state prosecutor, her department and the Maine State [Police] crime unit. They did their diligence and it showed.”
“Nobody really wins today. There is no win or lose. It doesn’t bring Gene back,” he added.
Williams was convicted of shooting Cole, who was on duty with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, on April 25 of last year.
Cole was looking for Williams to arrest him for dealing drugs and prosecutors say Williams was mad at the deputy for arresting his girlfriend a few days earlier.
In her closing arguments, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese said Williams pulled out his 9mm Ruger, switched off the safety and knelt down to shoot Cole in the neck after the deputy slipped.
The defense said Williams was using drugs in the minutes before the shooting and didn’t intend to kill Cole.
“We didn’t buy it, if you will,” Marchese said outside of the Cumberland County Courthouse. “We thought his actions around the time of the homicide clearly show that he intended to cause the death of Corporal Cole.”
She added, “We’re very grateful for the thorough job the jury did in rendering their guilty verdict. They obviously agreed with the state’s view of the case.”
Tom Cole said the family was concerned only when the jury asked to see the dash cam video of when Williams took their loved one’s police vehicle.
“That was difficult,” Tom Cole said outside the courthouse, surrounded by media cameras.
Cole’s widow, brother, children and other relatives were in the courtroom throughout the six-day trial. They quietly cried after the verdict was read.
Williams’ father, aunt and two other family members also were in the courtroom during the trial.
His aunt said Williams was not a bad person, but drugs had changed him.
She visits him weekly and said he told her he’s prepared to serve time for his actions.
“I’ll continue to pray for his family, too,” Tom Cole said. “They’re hurting.”
He ended by thanking the community and state for supporting his family.
“Just everybody has been so supportive of our family,” he said. “We just appreciate that.”
Williams faces between 25 years to life in prison. Marchese said the state would be asking for life.