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Police did not beat confession out of accused cop killer, judge rules

A Superior Court justice found Friday that police did not beat a confession out of the man accused of slaying Somerset County Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole, but threw out some statements John D. Williams made to investigators along with his re-enactment of the alleged crime.

Williams, 30, of Madison has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the shooting death of Cole in Norridgewock on April 25, 2018.

 His attorney, Verne Paradie of Lewiston, had sought to suppress all of Williams’ interview with police following his capture three days after Cole’s death. The capture followed an intensive manhunt that included law enforcement officers from across New England.

“We are very pleased that the court has held that a portion of Mr. Williams’ interrogation should be suppressed,” Paradie said. “We do still strongly believe that his waiver of Miranda rights was not voluntary during the entire interrogation, including the parts that were not suppressed, but we are pleased that the court agreed with us with regard to a significant part of the interview when Mr. Williams was asked to conduct a re-enactment of the event.”

It is the practice of the Maine Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting the case, not to comment until a verdict is announced.

 Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen found that Williams appeared weak, stumbled and dozed off during the videotaped interview and re-enactment. Because of that, Williams’ statements were not voluntary and had to be suppressed.

The judge ruled that about 90 minutes of the interview with police at the Waterville police station could be submitted as evidence, but everything after that was suppressed.

Mullen found that the punches inflicted on Williams by police at the time he was taken into custody were not coercive because it was “not inflicted to secure a confession.”

 Williams is scheduled to be tried in June at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.

This story will be updated.

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