• 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

    Following fire, Eagle River residents get home safety tips

    by Eric Ruble on May 28, 18:49

    The recent fire near Eagle River has reminded some Alaskans of the need to be fire ready, or “FireWise.” The Anchorage Fire Department’s FireWise program is helping Alaskans keep their properties safe this summer, when fire conditions are considered dangerous. Watching the plumes of smoke billow from his Eagle River balcony Friday afternoon, Rick Roberts […]

  • Sports

    High school runner brings spotlight to Alaska transgender policy

    by Jake Edmonds on May 28, 13:05

    Haines runner Nattaphon Wangyot qualified for the girls 1-2-3A 100-meter and 200-meter finals Friday afternoon at the high school state track and field meet, but unlike her competitors, she was born with male anatomy. Transgender equality has become a hot topic of discussion around the country, and Alaska is no exception. The Alaska Schools Activities […]

  • News

    Pasco frozen food company lays off 61 in wake of recall

    by Associated Press on May 28, 12:32

    A Pasco frozen food company has laid off 61 more workers amid an ongoing shutdown in connection to listeria contamination in some of its products. The Tri-City Herald reports that CRF Frozen Foods announced the additional layoffs Friday, raising the total number of workers laid off to more than 300. CRF Frozen Foods has recalled […]

  • Lifestyle

    Earliest snowmelt on record in Barrow

    by Emily Russell / KNOM on May 28, 12:21

    Snow in the northernmost town in the nation is melting earlier than ever before on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Observatory in Barrow reported a snowmelt staring on May 13. That’s 10 days earlier than the previous record set in 2002. NOAA has been recording snowmelt from its Barrow Observatory for over 70 years. The […]

  • News

    Health experts: Move Rio Olympics due to Zika outbreak

    by Associated Press on May 28, 10:25

    Health experts on Friday urged the World Health Organization to consider whether the Rio de Janeiro Olympics should be postponed or moved because of the Zika outbreak. The 150 experts — including former White House science adviser Dr. Philip Rubin — issued an open letter to the U.N. health agency, calling for the games to be delayed or […]

  • News

    Crews work to mop up Hiland Fire near Eagle River

    by KTVA 11 News on May 27, 22:18

      Last updated at 3:11 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 EAGLE RIVER — A large number of emergency responders spent Friday evening battling a small wildfire near Hiland Road in Eagle River. By Saturday afternoon, the fire was 100-percent contained and crews were conducting mop-up operations, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry (DOF). In […]

  • News

    From WWII to Vietnam: Wasilla veteran remembers 28 years of service

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 27, 21:36

    There may not be many people who can claim they fought in World War II, became a German prisoner of war then stayed in the military to complete two tours of duty in Vietnam, but Wasilla resident Walter Ferguson is one of them. Walt and his wife Lila are both 91 years old. They met […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage store goes above and beyond to support deaf employees

    by Shannon Ballard on May 27, 20:30

    Inside the South Anchorage Petco there are plenty of sounds to grab your attention, but 22-year-old Joseph Martin works in silence. “I can’t hear and it’s hard they don’t understand. I can’t talk,” Joseph Martin said using sign language. When KTVA spoke to Joseph Martin on Friday, his mom Jane did her best to interpret. […]