GRAYSON, Ky. (WOWK) – William Pulliam, a 65-year-old white man who pleaded guilty to killing a black 15-year-old in Charleston, was found dead in his cell in the Carter County Detention Center on October 3, 2019. Kentucky State Police were contacted concerning the death Thursday evening.
KSP Troopers say cellmates and jail staff attempted to revive Pulliam until Carter County EMS arrived. EMS continued resuscitation attempts but were ultimately unsuccessful. Investigators do not suspect criminal activity played at role in Pulliam’s death and an autopsy is scheduled for today.
This case remains under investigation by Detective Jeff Kelley and was assisted on scene by Carter County EMS and the Carter County Coroner’s Office.
Pulliam pled guilty to 2nd-degree murder on Monday, August 5, 2019. He was charged with fatally shooting James Harvey Means on November 21, 2016 after they bumped into each other outside a store and twice exchanged words.
A judge ruled in May of 2018 that Pulliam was incompetent and sent him to a mental hospital for treatment, but another judge found Pulliam mentally competent to stand trial in December of 2018.
Police say Means had a BB gun in his waistband when he was shot twice by Pulliam. Video footage shows Means had nothing in his hands. Pulliam has said he felt threatened and acted in self-defense. Pulliam faced up to 20 years in prison.