William Hunt: Convicted murderer gets 136 years for trying to blow up ex-girlfriend's house

Categories: Crime

william ples hunt mug shot.JPG
William Hunt.
Although William Ples Hunt was convicted of murder during the 1980s, he was later granted parole after blowing the whistle on a corrupt prison.

So what did Hunt do with his second chance? He wasted it by trying to blow up his ex-girlfriend's house -- an act for which he's been sentenced to 136 years in stir.

Hunt used a shotgun to kill Billy Jordan, a Columbus, Mississippi lawyer, in 1985. According to the editor of a Columbus newspaper who spoke to the Denver Post several years back, Jordan was so disliked that "anyone in the stadium attending a University of Mississippi football game could have been his killer." But Hunt left a business card at the scene of the crime, which quickly narrowed the list of suspects to one. He was handed a life sentence.

How'd Hunt get out of prison? In the 1990s, while working as a clerk at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, located in Parchman, he began to gather data about what a February 1995 Memphis Commercial Appeal article described as "a thriving illegal drug trade" and "pervasive gang activities" in the facility. His info reportedly helped spur a five-month investigation into the prison system as a whole that resulted in the sacking of forty prison employees for falsifying job applications plus two guards who allegedly tried to smuggle narcotics into Parchman.

As for Hunt, he was placed in protective custody at another prison -- and by 2002, he'd been released and moved to Colorado.

Cut to July 2005, when authorities in Arapahoe County received a phone call from friends of Sheryl Personett, 48. They were concerned about her safety, and according to the Post, they had every reason to be. Personett told officers Hunt, her former boyfriend, had threatened to kill her. Shortly thereafter, they located a U-Haul truck loaded with a seventeen fuel containers about a block away -- and they also found Hunt, hiding in the bushes behind a house.

Officers believed Hunt was drunk, although it was hard to tell, since he had apparently doused himself in gasoline. Their theory: He planned to trigger an explosion that would have consumed Personett, the house she shared with her daughter and a roommate, and, presumably, him. But he had to abandon the truck after being overcome by the fumes.

The vehicle was considered so dangerous that twenty homes in the neighborhood were evacuated for the lion's share of a day before it could be rendered safe.

The path to justice wasn't swift. Last November, Hunt was convicted on three counts of felony menacing, possession of an explosive/incendiary device, second-degree assault, stalking and attempted first-degree arson -- but the jury was hung on charges of attempted first-degree murder. However, the case was retried in April, and that
jury agreed the attempted murder beefs were justified.

Hunt has now been sentenced to 136 years -- meaning that no matter how much corruption he finds in the prison where he's sent, he's unlikely to get out again.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Simon Salinas: Gangsta gets 36 years for beating woman, ordering another attack on her from jail."

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I knew both Billy Jordan and Bill Hunt back in the 80's here in Columbus,Ms. My brother owned a nightclub here called Tuesday's. Hunt would come in there ever so often looking for trouble. I always knew Bill  was crazy and I always treaded lightly when ever he came around me. You never knew what he was thinking. Saw him bite a beer can in half with his teeth one night, cutting himself up in the process just to show off. I remember one time I saw his check book. It said William "Wild Bill Hunt". The address on the check was Red Square  Leningrad, Russia. I always knew he was capable of killing someone. He just didn't care about anything or anyone.


Thank you for running this story. I am the daughter of Sheryl Personett. And we could not be more THRILLED!!!!!!! He deserves every single year. Im my eyes he deserves the death penalty!


I think this man is a hero and his uncontrolled behavior should just be swept under the carpet. So, he let his anger get the best of him. I'm sure he feels bad about it. He did america a great service by ratting out the prison officials. Let's just consider your mother "collateral damage" and forget about it. Whaddaya say?


i was just about to post the same thing about the death penalty!!! Thank God they stopped him before he was able to follow through with his plans! What a low life!!! 136 years?! that is just plain stupid! He's already had a second chance so this charge should have def. made him eligible for the death penalty!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Vpersonett, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

Veronica Personett
Veronica Personett

UHMMMM But excuse me!!! I was around him for 2 whole years, and let me tell YOU that was a lot of crazy to be around. Trust me when i tell you that he deserves every single year! Did you run from your house at 4am cuz you thought you were going to be killed? Do you have kids?? Cuz every single day my mom kicks herself in the ass for dating that man! Ohhh and if he killed one of his friends he would have killed us. And he "feels bad" about it...hahahahaha. Maybe they should lock you up if you think this man is a "hero". Get out of here.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault