Inmate sentenced in 2012 cold-case killing

Published 2/22/2023 2:05:55 PM

DES MOINES – An inmate at the Anamosa State Penitentiary was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison after confessing to a 2012 murder.

William Rulli, 36, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder. Police say he had confessed to the killing of Stanley Golinsky, whose beaten and burned body was found under the railway bridge at First and Water streets in Des Moines on Oct. 24, 2012.  

Lt. Tim Peak, who led the investigation at the time, said he spent months on the case, visiting camps along the rivers and interviewing dozens of people about Golinsky’s death. “He was well-known and liked in the homeless community,” he said.

Rulli was also well-known -- but for bullying people who were homeless. “Everybody seemed to be afraid of him,” Peak said.

He questioned Rulli in the investigation, but the case grew cold. “I knew in my heart and my mind that Billy did this, but I didn’t have the physical evidence,” Peak said.

On Sept. 20, 2021, Rulli, who is serving a 25-year sentence for first-degree burglary, approached a corrections officer at the prison and asked to speak to detectives about Golinsky’s death.

Peak said he provided exact details about the case. He was charged with first-degree murder in October 2021.

Why did Rulli come forward? He told Peak that he was coming up for parole and had nowhere to go, and wanted to continue to live in prison “with no consequences” for his behavior.

Rulli’s sentences will be served concurrently. He was returned to the Anamosa prison on Wednesday.

Watch Lt. Tim Peak talk about the case in this video on the Des Moines Police Facebook page.