PORTLAND, Maine — A jury has been selected for the trial of John Williams, the man accused of shooting and killing Somerset County Sheriff's Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole last year.
The incident took place in April 2018. Williams led police on a four-day manhunt until he was captured near a cabin along Route 139 in Norridgewock.
Earlier this year, Williams asked the court to throw out a confession he reportedly made when he said he had shot Cole in the head.
The Cumberland County Superior Court began its process selecting a jury on Monday, June 3. The trial had been moved down from Somerset County in an attempt to find an impartial jury.
The Portland Press Herald's Megan Gray was in the court on Tuesday, June 4. She observed the intense selection process that allowed court officials to choose 12 jurors and three alternates out of a pool of more than 300 potential candidates.
"The juries and the judge were asking questions today to figure out whether people already believed whether Williams was guilty or innocent, whether they had connections to law enforcement that would make them biased in the case, whether they had experience with drugs and drug withdrawal that would influence their opinion," said Gray. "Questions like that."
The process has been thorough and selective, since Cole's death and the hunt for Williams were widely publicized in the news and on social media.
Gray says, however, that court officials are pleased with the decision today.
"The Maine Attorney General’s Office doesn’t comment on pending cases, but they told the court they were satisfied with the jury today," said Gray. "I spoke with Defense Attorney Verne Paradie shortly after jury selection ended. He said he was satisfied with the jury they selected. He felt they could be fair and impartial, and he indicated that in court today, as well."
Williams' trial is set to start on Monday, June 10.