• 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

    Alatna without potable water; Gov. Walker declares state disaster

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 26, 19:54

    More than one week after a blaze in Alatna caused extensive damage to the multi-purpose building, Gov. Bill Waker has declared a state disaster in order to restore potable water to the Interior community. The governor declared the state disaster in a Sunday release, saying that it was critical to restoring the community of Alatna, which […]

  • News

    In Kotzebue, traditional Native diet coming to longterm care facilities

    by Emily Carlson on Apr 26, 14:32

      Diet isn’t just about food — it’s about history; it’s about identity. A new program in Kotzebue will allow some Native elders the chance to again enjoy the tastes of their culture. On a wintry afternoon in the Northwestern community, an eclectic bunch gathered at the Maniilaq Association to eat traditional Native food. For most, it’s […]

  • News

    Stand with Nepal: How Alaskans can help the earthquake victims

    by Sierra Starks on Apr 26, 14:03

    Following Saturday’s devastating Himalayan earthquake, support and relief funds from nations and charities around the world are pouring in. The U.S. is sending a disaster response team and has pledged $1 million in aid to Nepal. Shipments of medical aid and other relief supplies are also headed to the area. About two dozen members of […]

  • Sports

    Soccer scores: Lady Lynx run away with 11-0 victory over Bartlett

    by KTVA Sports on Apr 26, 13:04

    It did not take long for the Dimond offense to get going against Bartlett Saturday morning with an 11-0 blowout over the Bears. Tatumn Willis got things going in the first half, collecting a rebound off the goalie and finding the back of the net to put the Lady Lynx up 1-0. Willis would add […]

  • News

    Christian Pilots Association of Alaska looking for new members

    by Dave Leval on Apr 26, 10:26

    An Alaska organization says help is needed for those who love to fly — and are passionate about their religion. Various private planes took center stage Saturday at Tanalian Aviation at Merrill Field Airport. They make up the fleet of the Christian Pilots Association of Alaska, a volunteer, nonprofit group in which pilots and planes are […]

  • Politics

    Alaska House, Senate negotiators reach agreement on budget

    by Associated Press on Apr 25, 23:13

    House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a state operating budget, and proposed a way to fund government through the end of this fiscal year without potentially having to draw from the constitutional budget reserve fund. The committee proposed using $1.1 billion in forward-funding for education for the fiscal year beginning July 1, to […]

  • News

    Nepali community in Anchorage hit hard by news of earthquake

    by Sierra Starks on Apr 25, 23:09

    After hearing about the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal near the country’s capital, Jeet Tamang was relieved to finally be able to talk to his family Saturday. “The whole world is trying to call over there,” said Tamang. “And it’s really hard to get through.” The death toll from the devastating Nepal quake now stands […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod musher Steve Watkins safe, was climbing Everest during Nepal earthquake

    by KTVA Sports on Apr 25, 20:22

      Army veteran and 2015 Iditarod rookie Steve Watkins was unharmed, as of Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The epicenter of the quake was 130 miles from Mount Everest, where Watkins was in the process of climbing to the summit. According to his girlfriend, Joy Chairusmi, Watkins was at […]