Convicted murderer wants out of guilty plea

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A man convicted last week in the 2016 murder of a 15-year-old boy has asked a judge to allow him to change his guilty plea.

William Pulliam

William Pulliam, 65, sent a letter from the South Central Regional Jail to Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King this week asking his plea to second degree murder be revoked. Pulliam is claiming he had poor counsel. He’s also alleging a conspiracy by prosecutors and he wants a change of venue.

Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller said these late claims seem strange given what took place in last week’s hearing.

“Judge King asked him several times, ‘Is there anything I can tell you that would cause you to change your mind about this plea? Is this what you want?’ He answered affirmatively to every question,” Miller said. “It almost sounds like he’s having buyer’s remorse, that he’s having second thoughts and that’s no good enough to set a plea aside.”

Miller said King would likely schedule a hearing on the letter to get things on the record. Miller said he’ll argue against removing the plea.

“Those are not reasons normally to advance a motion to set aside a guilty plea,” he said.

James Means

Pulliam has already had two court-appointed attorneys since his arrest shortly after he shot and killed James Means just a few blocks from the state capitol on Nov. 21, 2016.

Means was shot in the chest and back with .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Pulliam was originally indicted on a first degree murder charge. He claimed the shooting was in self-defense. The original criminal complaint also quoted Pulliam as telling police he considered the shooting a way to take another piece of trash off the street.

If the plea stands, Pulliam faces at 20 years in state prison at his sentencing. According to the plea agreement, any time that Pulliam is sentenced to serve in federal prison would be separate from his state sentence. Pulliam faces a firearms charges in U.S. District Court.

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