Register to win $600 gift card

Smithfield man charged with killing ‘confused’ 80-year-old neighbor


ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. — A 33-year-old Smithfield man was charged with killing his 80-year-old neighbor. Justin Keith Burch, of Water Oak Drive, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony voluntary manslaughter.

The arrest comes nearly one month after police found Burch’s 80-year-old neighbor William Pulley lying in the street “disheveled and confused.”

Police thought Pulley was drunk. After he was checked out by EMS, Pulley was taken home.

That was August 31.

Two days later Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s deputies were called to check on Pulley because no one had seen him around.

“Upon arrival of the patrol deputy, Mr. Pulley was found semi responsive in his home,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said.

He was taken to the hospital where doctors found a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain.

Pulley died September 9.

“Investigators later learned that on August 31, 2016, William Pulley was involved in a verbal altercation with his neighbor Justin Burch,” a sheriff’s spokesman said. “During this verbal argument, Justin Burch struck William Pulley causing him to fall backwards, striking his head on the pavement.

It is now our belief that Pulley was not intoxicated but could have been suffering from the effects of internal head injuries as a result of the altercation.”

Burch was arrested at his job and booked in Newport News Jail.