William Pulliam, Man Who Confessed To 2016 Shooting of Charleston Teen, Found Dead In Kentucky Jail

Oct 4, 2019

William Pulliam, the man who shot and killed 15-year-old James Means in Charleston, in November 2016, has died of an apparent suicide.

Kanawha County Prosecutors alerted James Means’ mother Thursday that William Pulliam had hung himself while in custody at Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky.  

The 65-year-old man pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder.

U.S. Marshall Service Deputy Fred Lamey confirmed Pulliam’s death, but held off on confirming the death as a suicide until an autopsy can be performed.

Kentucky State Police officers are investigating Pulliam’s death. Trooper Bobby King said Pulliam was found unresponsive in his cell Thursday afternoon. 

“Cellmates and jail staff attempted to revive Pulliam until Carter County EMS arrived. EMS continued resuscitation attempts but were ultimately unsuccessful,” Trooper King said in a statement. “Investigators do not suspect criminal activity played at role in Pulliam’s death and an autopsy is scheduled for today.”

Pulliam was originally charged with first-degree murder for killing Means on the East End of Charleston.

The story made national headlines -- mostly because of what Pulliam said after he was arrested and confessed to shooting the 15-year-old African American boy. According to a police report, he told the arresting officer: “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”

Pulliam’s death means that there will not be a sentencing hearing. Fay Adkins, Means’ mother, says she regrets that she now doesn’t have the opportunity to talk to Pulliam directly.