A lawyer for a man charged with murder for shooting a 15-year-old on Charleston’s East End says his client isn’t guilty of the charge police filed against him.
William Robert Pulliam, 62, of Charleston, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the Monday night shooting death of 15-year-old James Harvey Means.
Pulliam “asserts that he is not guilty of the charge. Beyond that, we will try this case in a court of law, not in the press,” said Deputy Kanawha County Public Defender Richard Holicker, one of the lawyers appointed to represent Pulliam.
Assistant Kanawha Public Defender David Anderson, who will also represent Pulliam, went to South Central Regional Jail to meet Pulliam on Tuesday night, Holicker said Wednesday. A jail employee said Wednesday that Pulliam refused a request for an interview on Wednesday with the Gazette-Mail.
Witnesses saw and heard Pulliam and Means exchange words after the two physically bumped into each other on the sidewalk near Dollar General, according to a criminal complaint written by Charleston police and filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.
Following the argument, Pulliam entered the store, while Means joined friends on the porch at the nearby home of a companion’s grandmother.
After Pulliam emerged from the store and walked past the porch where Means and his friends had gathered, the two argued again, and after Means crossed Washington Street East to approach the man, Pulliam shot Means twice, according to the complaint.
The teen died shortly after arrival at Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital.
According to a criminal complaint, Pulliam admitted to police that he shot Means, and said, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”
James Means, a freshman at Capital High School, enjoyed cars and dreamed of running his own business and getting married, family members said Tuesday night.
At his arraignment on first-degree murder charges, Pulliam seemed put out that he was denied bond and had to remain in jail, telling a magistrate he needed to go to work and would lose his job.
Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives for the Charleston Police Department, said Pulliam was arrested near the scene of the shooting at about 10 p.m. Monday, just more than one hour after Means was shot.
After the shooting, Pulliam went to dinner and then to a female friend’s home, the complaint says.
Police identified the woman as Kathi Parsley in the complaint. Police found the gun allegedly used to kill James Means at her home.
A woman who answered a knock at Parsley’s home on Woodbine Avenue on Wednesday afternoon said she was Parsley’s daughter, before waving off a reporter.
“We don’t want anything to do with that at all. We don’t want anything to do with it,” she said, before another woman out of sight told her to shut the door.
Cooper wouldn’t say Wednesday if police had determined how Pulliam obtained the .380 caliber revolver he is accused of shooting the teenager with. Pulliam was not allowed to have a gun, because of a previous domestic violence conviction.
Pulliam pleaded no contest in 2013 to a charge of domestic battery, which bars him from legally possessing a gun. Charleston police wrote in a criminal complaint in 2013 that Pulliam struck his pregnant daughter in the face several times with a closed fist and kicked her in the stomach. He also shoved his then-wife to the ground during that incident, according to court documents written by police.
Pulliam and his wife separated after the incident and she filed for divorce in 2015.
Staff writer Elaina Sauber contributed to this report.
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