July 8, 2019 | By Cameron Rogers
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Arthur William Hulley Jr. was born January 24, 1947. As a child, Bill, as he was called, lived in Baltimore, Maryland, with his mother and father and his older sister, Joan Williams. Their home flourished with nature, and young Bill relished in it by building forts with his friends, running around with his pup, and fishing with his father in the nearby stream. Williams remembers him as the happiest little kid, a three-year-old boy who just wanted to smile and play.
Joan Williams prefers to remember her brother with happy memories rather than how he died. Hulley was murdered in October of 1990 while on a walk in his neighborhood. The person responsible has never been caught.
When Hulley was young, his parents separated. He and his sister moved with their mother down to a quaint and friendly neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida. Growing up, the two siblings remained close despite the seven-year age gap. Williams vividly recalls how much they loved to pull pranks on each other. Hulley would mess with her whenever she was going on a date.
When Hulley graduated from high school, he joined the Army. Williams herself was an Army wife with a growing family of her own, but the two kept in touch as much as they could. When he returned home to St. Petersburg, the place he once lived had undergone a transformation. With property value decreasing and crime increasing, the neighborhood was experiencing a lot of changes.
Hulley eventually made the decision to move in with his mother. Because of her age, she needed assistance, but she often refused to leave her home.. Hulley and his mother got along well with their neighbors and he still enjoyed fishing as much as he did when he was a child. Williams came to visit when she could. The siblings enjoyed going on walks around the neighborhood during the evening time, getting some fresh air and just talking to each other.
But during one of her stays, she experienced something that did not sit well. According to Williams, the three of them were inside the house one night when a police helicopter flew over the house, shining a spotlight throughout the neighborhood in search of someone. After that night she repeatedly expressed her concern and suggested her mother and brother move somewhere new. Even though the Hulleys felt safe, the neighborhood itself faced a rise in suspicious activity.
One evening in early October 1990, Hulley was taking his usual walk when he was shot by an unidentified man. There was only one witness who heard the gunshot and saw a man running away from the scene. The witness then called 911. Hulley was rushed to the hospital and put on life support, but he passed away three days later on October 6, 1990.
Everything changed completely for Williams after her brother’s murder. She became the sole caretaker of her mother, moving into her home trying to make things as easy as possible while grieving the loss. But something she was not expecting was just how many people’s lives he had touched.
At his funeral, a woman approached and told Williams that Hulley and a small group of men from his church, all skilled in different areas of handiwork, had been helping out members of the community with home improvements. Carpentry was Hulley’s main line of work and he was also a Deacon at Central Christian Church. That was something he never shared with his sister, but it is a story that she holds onto after all this time.
Today, Williams is part of a group at her own church called Grief Share. They help families who have lost a loved one by giving them a place to talk, share stories, and receive advice. For her, connecting and helping people has helped on her journey to heal.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Arthur Hulley, please call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780 . To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County at 1-800-873-TIPS.
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