Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jay G. Hull -- The Troubled Guitarist

Described as "intense," "confrontational," "mean," "eccentric," and "psychologically troubled" by acquaintances, Hull, 39, was an accomplished classical guitarist utterly devoted to his music and environmental-wildlife concerns in Lake County, California.  Over the years, Hull became well-known in the area's tight knit arts community performing at numerous local concerts, chamber of commerce functions, and political rallies.  However, he was equally well-known as a volatile, verbally abusive troublemaker not averse to threatening anyone he felt was thwarting his will.  Hull once threatened to sue the Lake County Parks Department over payment for a performance, and nearly dumped a bag of trash on the desk of the director of the county's Solid Waste Office to protest rising landfill rates.  Perhaps frustrated over the area's limited artistic opportunities, Hull immediately clashed with Patricia M. Wiley, executive director of the nonprofit Lake County Arts Council, when she assumed the post in 1990.  Over the next five years, the troubled guitarist maintained a nonstop professional dispute with the popular and respected Wiley who, by 1995, confessed to friends that she was terrified of the man.

On March 20, 1995, Hull showed up unannounced at the Arts Council office demanding an audiotape of an interview he had given for the group's publication.  Hull, though adamant that he wanted the tape and agitated when it could not be quickly located, was reportedly civil to Wiley's assistant.  Early the next morning, Hull phoned Wiley, 56, insisting that they meet at her office.  According to the musician, he secured a donation of $35,000 to the Arts Council from a retired guitar player who wanted to fund Hull's program to teach kids to play the instrument at the Lake County Juvenile Hall.  The donor wished to deliver the check to the director that morning before her Lakeport office opened at 10:00 A.M.  Wiley reluctantly agreed to meet with Hull and the anonymous donor then phoned several friends to express her trepidation over the meeting.  She asked a couple of friends to "check up" on her shortly after the 8:00 A.M. meeting was set to commence.  At least three people phoned and Wiley assured them that the meeting with Hull (the donor, if one ever existed, had yet to show) was cordial.  After repeated calls went unanswered, however, a friend entered Wiley's office around 10:00 A.M. to find the arts director slumped behind her desk dead from a single bullet wound in her right eye.  Meanwhile, around 7:50 A.M., Hull's wife had frantically phoned authorities to report her husband had just left their house packing a .380-caliber pistol and threatening suicide.  A sheriff's deputy posted outside their Upper Lake home on Witter Springs Road saw the guitarist rush into the residence after 9:00 A.M., then heard a single gunshot.  Ambulanced to a nearby hospital, Hull died hours later from a self-inflicted pistol wound to the head.  Commenting on Patricia Wiley's death, a co-worker said, "It's just so incredible to have someone snatched away like that, just taken, because someone couldn't cope with life....There are no words for that kind of pain."

No comments:

Post a Comment