• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 44s

Wells convicted in Coast Guard murders

By MJ Thim 2:09 PM April 25, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

James Wells is going to prison for the murders of James Hopkins and Richard Belisle.

A jury convicted the 62-year-old on all six counts Friday in federal court.

“We all know he’s guilty, we always did,” said Nicola Belisle, widow of Richard Belisle. “It will never bring my husband back, which is what I wish.”

“I couldn’t sleep for almost two years, so I guess I now I can sleep,” said Deborah Hopkins, widow of James Hopkins.

The two men were found shot to death inside the rigger shop on the Coast Guard base in Kodiak on April 12, 2012.

Just as he had throughout the nearly month-long trial, Wells sat with no emotion as the judge read each guilty verdict. He was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of murder of an officer or U.S. employee and two counts of use of a firearm in a violent crime.

Belisle was a former petty officer with the Coast Guard who continued to work as a civilian. Hopkins was an electrician.

Prosecutors called this a case of workplace violence turned deadly. They said Wells held a grudge against the men because he thought they were trying to push him out of a job.

The defense said the case was nonsense because there wasn’t any evidence found connecting him to the crimes. Wells’ alibi was that he was late for work the morning of the murders due to a flat tire. His lawyers tried to convince the jury there were other suspects, possibly the victims’ families or friends.

It’s something that angered the widows. They both said they couldn’t understand why Wells’ lawyers would drag their families through the mud. Belisle’s wife said it was disgusting.

“There will never be enough justice to pay for what that man [Wells] has done to me, my girls, to Rich’s family, to our friends,” she said.

“You got what you deserved, you son of a bitch. Die in hell,” Hopkins said when asked what she would say to Wells.

Wells will be sentenced in July. He faces life in prison.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Fairbanks municipalities plan marijuana meeting

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 10:54

    Three municipalities within the Fairbanks North Star Borough will meet next week to discuss the new state law legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1y0CaG2) reports a public forum hosted by the borough assembly and the Fairbanks and North Pole city councils is planned for Tuesday night. Officials at the intergovernmental work […]

  • On-Air

    Get Out: Hike it Baby

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 28, 10:26

    A few weeks ago we had a few ladies from Hike it Baby Anchorage on the Daybreak couch. Hiking and babies sounded like non-stop fun to me, so in this week’s Get Out I met up with a few of the members from the group for a hike on the Hillside at Prospect Heights trailhead. […]

  • News

    Icy Strait Point dock construction to begin

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 10:13

    Construction of a new cruise ship dock near Hoonah is expected to begin next year. Capital City Weekly (http://is.gd/eNh0IB) reports Anchorage-based Turnagain Marine construction on Monday won the $23.7 million contract to design and build a 400-foot floating dock at Icy Strait Point, a southeast Alaska cruise ship destination. Icy Strait Point is owned by […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Derek Dean

    by Daybreak Staff on Nov 28, 9:16

    Anchorage singer/songwriter Derek Dean made his Daybreak debut Friday, performing songs from his unreleased EP. Dean has been writing ’90s alternative rock-inspired songs for more than a decade. He made his way into the Anchorage music scene as lead singer/songwriter and guitarist for the band Easyhead. In August 2012, his song “Phobia” was named Indie Rock Song […]

  • News

    Injured moose makes minor moves

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 28, 8:57

    It’s day six of a moose watch in an East Anchorage neighborhood, where residents are worried the injured bull won’t recover after he was tangled in a fencing wire. The bull was seen in a yard on Trena Street Thursday afternoon. Neighbors say it’s eerie to see such a regal animal lying in a residential […]

  • DayBreak

    Meet Grant, this week’s Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet

    by Daybreak Staff on Nov 28, 8:43

    I confess, I love to have my head scratched. It brings out my deep purrrrrrr … Hear it? Grant is a male, long-haired male tabby with stunning green eyes that will melt your heart. Not only is he good looking, he also has an easy-going and affable personality. Rumor has it that Grant is a purring […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 28

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 28, 8:25

    Mostly cloudy skies for the majority of the region today with some snow moving into Southcentral tonight and tomorrow. Some light accumulations are likely. In the Southeast it will be a beautiful day with sunny skies. In the Interior it will be cold and partly cloudy today. On the North Slope skies will be partly […]

  • News

    Generations of veterans gather for Thanksgiving

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 28, 7:45

    On a holiday that revolves around food, it’s only natural that the kitchen is kept busy. Cooking for a houseful of people is a tough enough. Still, Kim Lisius had a bigger idea. “They’ve done so much for us and our country. Anything we can do is huge,” Lisius said. She is part of Alaska’s […]