CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WHSV/AP) — A white West Virginia man who pleaded guilty last week to killing a black teen now wants the court to revoke his plea and send the case to trial.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports William Ronald Pulliam requested the new trial, attorney and change of venue in a letter filed Tuesday. The letter, dated Aug. 8, 1999, says Pulliam was under duress when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2016 death of 15-year-old James Harvey Means.
The 65-year-old Pulliam says his public defender told him not pleading guilty would likely lead to an unsuccessful trial and prison sentence during which Means' brother would be out to get him. He now wants the trial.
Prosecutor Chuck Miller says a hearing may be scheduled to consider Pulliam's requests.
Investigators say Pulliam shot and killed Means at the corner of Nancy Street and Washington Street after a confrontation on Nov. 21, 2016. Means was only 15 years old, outside of a Dollar General, when Pulliam got into an argument with him.
In court, attorneys said Pulliam drew a gun and shot Means. When Means tried to run away at that point, he fell, and Pulliam shot him again, killing him.
After his arrest, he told police "another piece of trash is off the street."
Pulliam then claimed he acted in self-defense, but that argument was rejected. He was sent to a hospital for a psychological evaluation and found competent to stand trial.
Pullman is being held at Southwestern Regional Jail.