Norridgewock, Maine – A man suspected of murdering a Maine sheriff’s deputy and stealing his patrol vehicle on Wednesday morning was out on bond from earlier weapons charges, after two judges lowered his bail twice.
John Williams, 29, is currently the subject of a nationwide manhunt, after he allegedly shot and killed Somerset County Corporal Eugene Cole between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. in Skowhegan, the North Andover Patch reported.
Williams fled in the slain officer’s patrol vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Norridgewock at approximately 5 a.m.
Williams was suspected of robbing a Cumberland Farms store. Dashcam footage from Cpl. Cole’s patrol vehicle captured images of Williams as he entered and exited the store.
The suspected cop-killer had been behind bars on Mar. 22, 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, the North Andover Patch reported.
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.
Jason Law posted a copy of the bail documents which state, “The court has not considered the defendant’s alleged dangerousness in setting the amount of bail.”
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 described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and is approximately 120 pounds. He has blue eyes, and brown hair, and a full beard, WCSH reported.
His whereabouts are unknown, and he should be considered heavily armed.
Please share his photo on social media so that he has nowhere to hide.