CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Convicted murderer William Pulliam was found dead in a Kentucky jail Thursday after apparently hanging himself.


James Means

Pulliam shot and killed 15-year-old James Means of Charleston, in November 2016 after the two had exchanged words a few blocks from the state capitol. Pulliam pleaded guilty to second degree murder in August. He initially had second thoughts about the plea but last month confirmed with Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King that he wanted the plea to stick.

Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller said he was informed Thursday afternoon that Pulliam took his own life in the Carter County, Kentucky jail where he was being held on a federal gun charge. Part of Pulliam’s plea in Kanawha County included serving time concurrently in connection with the federal charge. Miller said the federal charge was running its course.

“Once his federal case was completed he was to be brought back into state custody for his sentencing on the murder charge,” Miller said.

A statement from Kentucky State Police described the incident in a Friday news release.

“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,” the statement said.

Miller said it’s an unfortunate ending to a tragic case.He said he feels bad for James Means’ mother who was preparing for Pulliam’s sentencing.

“I know his family is very upset about that. His mother had prepared a statement to give to the court but obviously that will no longer be the case,” Miller said.

Pulliam was 65.