• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 8s

Common sense or nonsense? Jury deliberates Wells’ fate

By MJ Thim 8:26 PM April 24, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Did James Wells shoot and kill 41-year-old James Hopkins and 51-year-old Richard Belisle the morning of April 12, 2012?

It’s the question jurors have been asked to answer as they deliberate the fate of Wells.

Prosecutors argued it’s common sense Wells is the killer during closing arguments Thursday in federal court. They believe he committed the murders inside the rigger shop of the Coast Guard yard on Kodiak Island.

Wells’ lawyers called the entire case nonsense because there wasn’t any evidence found connecting him to the crime.

Prosecutors told the jury Wells held a grudge against Hopkins and Belisle. They said he was angry because the two men were trying to push him out of a job.

The defense argued he had no history of violence and is a quiet and peaceful man whose only concern was safety when it came to his job. They asked the jury to think of Wells not as a stranger but as a loved one, such as a father or brother.

The prosecution painted a picture of how they believe Wells committed the crimes. They said he planned everything beforehand. Highlighting their point, they said Wells waited for his wife Nancy to go out of town so he could use her blue Honda CRV to drive to the shop instead of using his white truck. Two frames of video surveillance at the base were used by the prosecution to show Wells coming and going the morning of the murders.

The frames were of a blue blur the defense said could have been anyone. They argued not one expert called into testify during the trial said the blue blur was Nancy’s Honda CRV. They took the issue one step further and said no one could prove the two frames were the same vehicle — calling the prosecution’s case a house of cards.

Another area of debate: Wells’ alibi when the bodies were found. He said he was late to work because he had a flat tire that was punctured by a nail. Prosecutors showed the jurors a big truck tire and how they believe the nail was put there intentionally, perhaps by a nail gun.

In the end, prosecutors told the jury to use their common sense while the defense said it’s all nonsense Wells is the suspect and that the real killer is still on the loose.

The courtroom was packed with people for the first time since jury selection. Almost half of the people were from the Coast Guard, a majority of whom were from the Kodiak base.

Jury deliberations start Friday.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues stranded Alaska hunter

    by Associated Press on Dec 20, 12:08

    The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued a hunter who was stranded on Chicagof Island in Alaska after he was separated from his hunting party. Rescuers in Juneau were alerted that there was a hunter in distress on the nearby island. They launched a helicopter crew to find him in the dark of night. The hunter […]

  • Sports

    Day 2: T-Bird Classic, Cougar Tip-Off

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 20, 11:52

    Day 2 of the T-Bird Classic brought a hot start for the Bears, whose girls won, 51-14, against Eagle River. A bomb threat briefly placed East High School on lockdown and the game was delayed. Kodiak’s Dannika Catt called the long delay at halftime “awkward at first.” “Because we didn’t know if we were still going […]

  • News

    Murkowski expresses concern about North Korean cyber hack

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 19, 22:31

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday she is very concerned now that the U.S. has established a link between the North Korean government and a recent hacking attack against Sony. The senator said the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, considers the cyber attack a  national threat. “This hacking is directly linked to North Korea, there’s […]

  • Lifestyle

    VIDEO: Minnesota climber begins solo ascent of Denali

    by John Thain on Dec 19, 21:45

      TALKEETNA - Climbing season on Denali is long over, but for Lonnie Dupre, it’s just beginning. The 53-year-old Minnesota man is attempting to be the first person to summit it alone in January. It’s his fourth attempt after trying similar expeditions in 2013, 2012, and 2011. The closest he came was just over 17,000 feet […]

  • News

    ‘Shop with a Cop, Shop with a Firefighter’ brings Christmas cheer

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 19, 21:28

    For many of Anchorage’s homeless kids, interactions with police officers or firefighters happen during less-than-happy times. A local program called “Shop with a Cop, Shop with a Firefighter” aims to change that. Now in its fifteenth year, the Friday event gave 50 kids the opportunity to go Christmas shopping with a partner in uniform. Everything […]

  • News

    Neglected sled dogs find new homes

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 19, 20:24

    A few weeks ago, the Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center seized 12 hungry dogs from musher Dario Martinez’s kennel: Martinez had disappeared and was later found dead of an apparent suicide, police said. On Friday, some of his dogs were healthy enough to find a new home. The line formed outside AACCC well before […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, Dec. 19

    by KTVA Weather on Dec 19, 19:54

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Mostly cloudy skies and dry throughout Southcentral. Southeast Mostly rainy from Sitka to the south with snow for Skagway. Interior and North Slope Partly cloudy skies. Wind in the southeastern areas by Delta Junction. Slope areas will be cloudy with some flurries on and off. Mat-Su Valley Partly cloudy […]

  • News

    Willow fire displaces Iditarod musher, dogs

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 19, 17:39

    An Iditarod musher, her husband and dogs were temporarily left out in the cold after a fire destroyed their Willow home Friday. Neither Jaimee nor Justin High were home when the blaze broke out, and the 24 sled dogs kept at the property were unharmed by the fire. For now, the couple is staying with […]