SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — A man charged with killing a sheriff’s deputy told an investigator that the deputy tripped backward and was on the ground when he fired the shot that “eliminated” him, according to court documents.
John Williams waived his right to remain silent and provided details of the killing following his arrest, a detective wrote in an affidavit. The death of 61-year-old Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole on April 25 sparked a four-day manhunt.
Williams, 29, of Madison, acknowledged he was angry that Cole had arrested his girlfriend days earlier, but said he did not have a vendetta. He simply did not want to go to jail, the detective wrote.
The shooting happened when Cole discovered Williams and attempted to arrest him outside a home in Norridgewock. Williams said he pulled a handgun from the waistband of his pants and shot Cole in the head while he was on the ground holding his hands in front of his face.
Williams was due in court in Massachusetts the day of the shooting. After the killing, Williams stole the deputy’s pickup truck and robbed a convenience store before abandoning the vehicle, police said.
Cole, 61, was the first police officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years in Maine.
His funeral on May 7 drew thousands of people including hundreds of law enforcement officials. A life sentence may be imposed for the death of a law enforcement officer, and the attorney general’s office intends to seek a life sentence if Williams is convicted of murder.
The Ruger handgun that allegedly was used in the killing was found when Williams was captured on April 28 at a Fairfield cabin owned by a Massachusetts man.
The affidavit, made public on Monday and first reported by the Bangor Daily News, mentioned that the camp owner was advised that a bullet had gone through the front door of the camp and had pierced the rear wall. It was unclear who fired the shot; police had not previously mentioned a weapon being fired.