Maine jurors Tuesday convicted a man of killing Somerset County Deputy Corporal Eugene P. Cole, whose widow wrote soon after the April 2018 slaying that she had endured “the purest form of hell and torture.”
John D. Williams, 29 at the time of Cole’s death, was found guilty of murder Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Both sides agreed that Williams fired the shot that killed the 61-year-old Cole in Norridgewock, Maine, the AP reported. Prosecutors argued Williams knew what he was doing, while the defense claimed he was sleep-deprived and on drugs, according to the wire service.
Sheryl Cole took to Facebook days after her husband’s murder to share a powerful remembrance of him.
“I am the wife of Corporal Eugene Cole. I am not a widow (I always told him the ‘til death do us part’ thing wasn’t going to get him out of anything). I am not a victim,” she wrote. “With the help and support of my family, my community, and my country, I will get through this. I have to adjust to what will become the new normal.”
Williams had been due in Haverhill District Court in Massachusetts on the day Cole was shot to death, the Globe reported last year. He told a friend he didn’t want to return to Massachusetts because he feared spending 10 years behind bars if convicted in an illegal gun possession case.
Massachusetts State Police on March 22, 2018 arrested Williams on Interstate 495 in Haverhill, where authorities said they found two handguns in the trunk of his car. Williams was arraigned that day and released March 31 on $5,000 bail.
He killed Cole the following month.
Court records filed in Maine said a police vehicle appeared in the early-morning hours of April 25, 2018 as friends were dropping Williams off in front of a house in Norridgewock. Cole’s body was later found outside the home. Court documents said Williams confessed the crime to a friend.
Sheryl Cole wrote in her 2018 Facebook post that at times people who looked in her direction perhaps saw the loss she felt in the aftermath of her husband’s death. “When you look at me, you may see the sorrow in my eyes, the reflection of a gold badge with the number 1312 across it,’’ she wrote, referring to her husband’s badge number.
She also wrote of the support she received from neighbors, strangers, law enforcement, and her relatives after Eugene Cole’s murder, and while Williams was on the run.
“The last five days have been the purest form of hell and torture,” she wrote. “The waiting when they couldn’t find his body, the finality when they did, and the uncertainty of the days that followed.”
She added: “I have read every single word. As sad it makes me, and how hard it is to read through tears, it touches my heart and gives it that tiny lift it so desperately needs right now. So to you all — a heartfelt thank you.”
Sentencing information for Williams wasn’t immediately available Tuesday.Globe Correspondent Jacob Carozza contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.