James Harvey Means, a 15-year-old black teen, was killed by William Ronald Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, who shot the boy in the abdomen twice, in an East End neighborhood of Charlotte, West Virginia. When questioned by authorities, Pulliam referred to James as trash but later denied it. Law enforcement has called on federal authorities to determine if Pulliam should be charged with a hate crime.
In the midst of the prolonged Thanksgiving week, little has been written about James Means, but the facts surrounding his alleged murder warrant more media attention than they have been given. James was fatally wounded by Pulliam on November 21. Witnesses said the boy accidentally bumped into the elderly man outside a Dollar General Store. Pulliam entered the store and meanwhile, James sat on a nearby porch talking to friends, per the Washington Post.
“The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”
Allegedly, when Pulliam left the store, more words were exchanged between him and the teen. The boy then allegedly crossed the street and Pulliam shot him twice in the abdomen with a.380 caliber revolver. Means was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. After the encounter, Pulliam went to dinner, then visited a friend. The shooter claimed that James had a gun, but evidence supporting this hasn’t been revealed.
— Traynesha Cole???? (@TrayneshaCole) November 24, 2016
This case is reminiscent of the “loud rap music” murder. There was a group of black teens who were playing loud music in a car and one chose to turn up the music after a friend had turned it down — disobeying the voice of 47-year-old Michael Dunn who said he hated “thug music,” per the New York Daily News. He shot into the car 10 times and three shots fatally wounded 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn proved he was the thug by his actions.
Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder and is now serving a life sentence plus 60 years in an undisclosed prison location. The then accused and now convicted murderer claimed that Jordan had a gun, but there was no gun. Dunn also shouted cries of self-defense but he wasn’t defending himself and continued shooting at the SUV while the driver sped away in the opposite direction.
Like Pulliam, Dunn went about his daily business after taking a life. Reportedly, he returned to his hotel room, made a drink, ordered food, and walked his dog. This reveals much about Dunn’s character and thought processes. A decent human being even if he had been attacked (Dunn was not) and killed someone in self-defense would be concerned about the life that he may have taken. Dunn, reportedly, didn’t know (or care) that Jordan was dead until he heard it on the news the following morning.
The truth is that many youths of all ethnicities can come across as disrespectful, loud, and obnoxious. Many are testing the limits and trying on manhood and womanhood for size. But that’s not a reason to kill anyone, and the young victim is not responsible for the adult’s lack of self-control and rage. In this case, it is a fact that Pulliam has a propensity toward violence and a record to prove it.
— Blavity (@Blavity) November 23, 2016
Just as forensic psychological profiles are performed on young black men who are killed, the background of their killers should be meticulously examined. In 2013, Pulliam pled no contest to a charge of domestic battery, which prevented him from legally possessing a gun, yet he had one, per the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
A criminal complaint in Kanawha Magistrate Court stated that he punched his pregnant daughter and kicked her in the stomach. During the incident, he also pushed his wife to the ground. The daughter sustained visible wounds, including bruising to the eye and a bleeding lip. His wife was also bleeding. As a result, Pulliam was charged with two counts of domestic battery, but one was dropped. He was then sentenced to 36 days in jail, credited for six days served, and placed on a year’s probation.
Teonno White, 14, said Pulliam would “pick on” the teen’s younger brother. When he confronted Pulliam, he allegedly stated, “Get the f*** off my property.” He added that White should go on with his “nappy Latino self,” undoubtedly a reference to the boy’s hair texture and ethnic background. White said he called the police about the old man but was told to ignore him. A pattern of hatred, evil, and disdain for people of color is apparent.
After being arraigned for killing the black teen, Pulliam’s biggest concern was losing his job. He was told that he would not be released on bond until a preliminary hearing on December 1.
[Featured Image by West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility]