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Judge keeps Pulliam plea deal intact

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William Pulliam

William Ronald Pulliam, 65, sits in Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King’s courtroom Aug. 5. On Wednesday, King ruled a plea deal in which Pulliam stands convicted of second-degree murder, will remain intact.

A man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing a 15-year-old boy on Charleston’s East End said Wednesday he wanted to keep his plea deal intact.

On Aug. 5, William Ronald Pulliam pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He shot and killed 15-year-old James Means on Nov. 21, 2016. As part of his plea deal, prosecutors agreed to recommend that the 65-year-old Pulliam be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Three days later, Pulliam wrote a letter to Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King in which he said he wanted to take back the guilty plea, and stand trial instead.

In the letter, Pulliam asked to get a new public defender and have his trial outside Kanawha County “because of the bad press I have received and the vilification of my name and reputation.”

But on Wednesday, Pulliam told King that he had changed his mind and wanted to keep his plea intact.

During the hearing on Wednesday, King referred to a second letter sent by Pulliam. A copy of that letter wasn’t in Pulliam’s case file Wednesday afternoon.

King allowed Pulliam’s guilty plea to stand. The judge did not schedule a sentencing hearing, saying he would wait for a federal firearms case against Pulliam to wrap up.

Pulliam, who is being held at Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky, is set to stand trial in U.S. District Court on Nov. 4 for one count of unlawful transport of a firearm and one count of knowingly making a false statement with respect to firearms records.

He allegedly lied on federal forms to buy a .380 revolver from Gander Mountain in Charelston in July 2016, according to the indictment. The unlawful-transport charge stemmed from the day he took possession of the gun, in August 2016, three months before he killed Means.

Pulliam wasn’t allowed to have a gun because of a 2013 domestic violence conviction in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Reach Lacie Pierson at

lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow

@laciepierson on Twitter.

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