A man serving a life sentence for the murder of a sheriff’s deputy will not be getting a new trial after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court once again upheld his conviction Tuesday.

This was the second time that John Williams has appealed his conviction to the state’s highest court. He was convicted in 2019 of the murder of Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole, whom he shot while Cole was on duty outside a house in Norridgewock one morning in 2018.

Williams was arrested for shooting Cole four days into a search that drew in law enforcement agencies from across the state.

In the first appeal, Williams’ attorney Verne Paradie argued that a confession Williams gave officers after his arrest shouldn’t have been heard in trial because he only made it to avoid further abuse from law enforcement officers. The state supreme court denied that first appeal in 2020.

In the second appeal, Paradie argued that prosecutors withheld information from the defense that was “crucial” to its case – that a Maine State Police trooper had been suspended for one day because he did not report that another trooper hit Williams twice during his arrest.

Paradie argued earlier in March that the suspension proved that Trooper Tyler Maloon, who testified in Williams’ trial and was one of the officers who arrested him, might not have been a credible witness. But the court wrote Tuesday in its opinion that the trooper’s testimony at the time actually supported Williams’ argument that his confession wasn’t truthful, but a result of him trying to avoid “further physical abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers.”


“The fact that Maloon had been disciplined by the State Police for not immediately reporting what he later testified to at the motion to suppress hearing and again at trial would not have added anything to Williams’s attempt to convince the jury that his confession was motivated by fear,” the opinion states.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, who argued against Williams’ appeal before the state supreme court on March 8, said Tuesday that the high court’s opinion stated that her office turned over all helpful evidence before trial.

“This was not information that was necessary or material to John Williams’ case,” Robbin said of Maloon’s suspension. During oral arguments, she told the court that her office wasn’t aware of the suspension until after the trial, when they heard about it from Paradie.

Paradie said Tuesday that the opinion was “not surprising, but disappointing in any event.”

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