Cumberland County, ME – An attorney for accused cop-killer John Williams alleged that police “beat and pummeled” his client when they placed him under arrest.
He has now has filed a motion asking the court to suppress “any and all statements” Williams made after he was taken into custody.
Attorney Vern Paradie filed the motion in Cumberland County Superior Court on Aug. 23.
He alleged that “overzealous police officers” had “severely injured” Williams by “kicking him in the head and face…to the point of causing him to defecate himself,” according to the document.
By the time Williams was interviewed by detectives, “Williams sincerely believed they could help him get away from the beatings and was ready to tell them anything they wanted to hear,” the motion to suppress read.
Williams’ lawyer also claimed that Williams was “not physically and mentally” capable of providing a “voluntary statement” because he was experiencing “opioid withdrawal.”
“Due to his withdrawal, Mr. Williams was sleep deprived and expressed his significant exhaustion and discomfort,” the document read. “In combination with the significant beating he sustained…his statements were not voluntary under Maine and federal law.”
Williams, 29, was the subject of a nationwide manhunt following the April 25 murder of Somerset County Corporal Eugene Cole.
Cpl. Cole, 61, was savagely gunned down in the line of duty between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. in Skowhegan, before the assailant fled the scene in his patrol vehicle.
Williams was also suspected of robbing a nearby Cumberland Farms store, and dashcam footage from Cpl. Cole’s patrol vehicle captured images of Williams as he entered and exited the business.
After the murder, it was discovered that Williams had been behind bars on Mar. 22, but was released after two judges lowered his bond without considering how dangerous he was.
Hi previous arrest started after Massachusetts State Police spotted two vehicles parked in the I-495 breakdown lane.
Williams, whose vehicle had gone off of the roadway, told the officers he had fallen asleep while he was driving, but denied having consumed illegal drugs or alcohol, KTUU reported.
He was found in possession of a 9mm handgun, as well as a 16-round magazine.
Investigators also located containers with a powder residue, as well as a short straw and a razor blade - all of which were items commonly used to ingest narcotics.
Williams was charged with improper storage of a firearm, possession/carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a large capacity feeding device, possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card, marked lanes violation, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Prosecutors asked the court to hold him on $10,000 bond, but Judge Michael Patten set his bail at just $7,500.
During a bail review hearing five days later, Judge Timothy Feeley lowered Williams’ bond further, to just $5,000, despite the court’s notation that Williams did not have ties to the community, according to court documents.
On Mar. 31, Williams made bail, and was released from custody. His probable cause hearing for the earlier offenses was scheduled for Wednesday morning – the same morning that Cpl. Cole was murdered.
Williams was ultimately captured on April 28 in a heavily wooded area near Fairfield by a seven-man team that included local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, the Press Herald reported.
He was barefoot and shirtless when police located him. He offered “limited resistance,” and was placed under arrest using Cpl. Cole’s handcuffs.
According to court documents, Williams ultimately confessed that he “got the drop” on Cpl. Cole after the officer tripped and fell backwards onto the ground, the Press Herald reported.
Williams said he then shot Cpl. Cole in the head.
Police said that Williams suffered a black eye during the arrest, and that he fought officers’ attempts to photograph him to confirm his identity. As such, Williams was photographed while lying on the ground on his stomach, and an officer held his head up by his hair to capture the shot.
Williams’ attorney argued that the photo was evidence that officers had treated him like a “game trophy,” the motion read.
“I think the photo epitomizes what the officers did to him,” Paradie told the Press Herald. “My client was beaten pretty severely. There are rules around obtaining confessions and when we don’t follow those rules there have to be consequences.”
Williams’ trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in May of 2019.