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Gainesville man charged in death of homeless man found off railroad tracks
Dexter Barnard Pulliam

Update: A 51-year-old man has been charged with killing a homeless man, who was found dead near railroad tracks on Monday in Gainesville, Gainesville Police reported.

Dexter Barnard Pulliam, of Gainesville, was charged with felony malice murder. Pulliam, who is also homeless, is being held in the Hall County Jail. 

Leon Hines, 66, of Gainesville, was found about 7 p.m. off the railroad tracks near Georgia Avenue and Industrial Boulevard. He was slumped over with blood on his hands and head, police reported.

Medical personnel arrived and attempted to provide care, but Hines was pronounced dead.

Initially, the cause of death was uncertain. On Thursday, autopsy results showed the cause of death was a homicide, police reported.

After numerous interviews and an analysis of the evidence at the crime scene, police obtained an arrest warrant for Pulliam. It’s unclear from a press release when he was arrested. 

Detectives determined that Pulliam and Hines knew each other and were members of a homeless encampment in the area.  

 “As always, we share our deepest condolences to those affected by this crime,” Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said in a press release. “ Anytime a member of this community is the victim of a heinous act of violence, it impacts us all.” 

Previous story: Police are investigating the death of a homeless man found Monday, Oct. 18, between the railroad tracks in Gainesville.

Gainesville Police officers responded to the Georgia Avenue and Industrial Boulevard area and found Leon Hines, 66, unconscious between the tracks. 

Cpl. Jessica Van said EMTs attempted medical care, but Hines was pronounced dead at the scene.

Van said an autopsy would be scheduled to “further guide the investigation,” on which police were actively working. Van and Lt. Kevin Holbrook did not release any further information when contacted Friday, Oct. 22.

Hines, who was known by some as the “mayor of Queen City,” was a stalwart in Gainesville’s homeless community, knowing the ins and outs.

Christen Lott Hunte said Hines was the first homeless person she met in February when she began doing street outreach. The outgoing and charismatic Hines gave her the lay of the land, as he had been in the homeless community for roughly 20 years.

“He kind of looks out for everyone,” Lott Hunte said. “… Anytime one of the homeless goes missing or we don’t know where they are, we can usually go to him.”

A memorial was planned for Sunday, Oct. 24, to honor Hines and also show members of the homeless community that they matter, Lott Hunte said.

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