Neighbors argue, fight and now an 80-year-old man is dead and a 33-year-old is in jail

Posted at 11:04 AM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 07:20:34-04

SMITHFIELD, Va. - A man was arrested Wednesday after a verbal altercation ended in the death of his neighbor.

Isle of Wight County Deputies were called to the 14000 block of Water Oak Drive on August 31 on a report that a man was lying in the street.

Deputies located 80-year-old William Pulley in the street disheveled and confused. Officials thought Pulley was intoxicated. After being checked by EMS personnel, Pulley was taken to his residence and no further contact was had with him that night.

On September 2, the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office was called to check on Pulley because he had not been seen by neighbors.

A deputy located Pulley semi-responsive in his home.

He was transported to Sentara Obici Hospital where it was found that Pulley suffered from a skull fracture with internal cranial bleeding. Pulley was then transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he died on September 9 from complications that resulted from his head injury.

Justin Burch

Justin Burch

Investigators learned that on August 31 Pulley was involved in a verbal altercation with his neighbor Justin Burch. The investigation revealed that during this verbal argument, Justin Burch struck William Pulley causing him to fall backwards, striking his head on the pavement.

Deputies now believe that Pulley was not intoxicated but could have been suffering from the effects of internal head injuries as a result of the altercation.

Justin Burch, 33, was arrested by Newport News Police Wednesday on a charge of felony voluntary manslaughter. He is being held without bond.

Jeanette Wells lives near both of the men and said she was shocked and saddened.  She said she feels bad for both families.

Authorities told News 3 they do not think that Burch was trying to kill Pulley, but rather lost his temper.