• 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

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

    Anchorage Assembly approves 2016 budget in 7-4 vote

    by Eric Ruble on Nov 24, 23:11

    The Anchorage Assembly has passed the 2016 budget proposed by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. In a 7-4 vote, the Assembly approved the most recent version of the $481 million budget with no amendments to the version submitted Tuesday. Despite an $11 million shortfall, next year’s budget is $2 million smaller than the previous year’s thanks to […]

  • Sports

    UAA women make a statement: They’re Really Good

    by Dave Goldman on Nov 24, 23:04

    Division I Pepperdine is rebuilding. Division II UAA is rolling. In a game which was never in doubt, the host and seventh-ranked University of Alaska Anchorage dismantled an overmatched Pepperdine Waves from the West Coast Conference 94-61 in the opening round of the women’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout at Alaska Airlines Center. UAA is no stranger to beating Division I teams. This marked its […]

  • News

    Muni unveils safety improvements for downtown transit center

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 24, 22:34

    Tuesday at the downtown transit center looked just like any other day – Around noon, a man was passed out inside bus 14 heading to Government Hill. The route was delayed. Just this year, People Mover security has removed nearly 5,000 transients from the downtown stop for violations such as prostitution, drinking or selling drugs. Many people […]

  • News

    USCG crew medevacs 70-year-old man who fell from cliff

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 24, 21:45

    The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 70-year-old man to Juneau after he fell of a 30-foot cliff Tuesday. The Juneau Police Department contacted the USCG reporting the man’s head was injured when he fell from the cliff near Funter Bay, “approximately 200 yards from the state dock,” according to a Coast Guard statement. A MH-60 […]

  • News

    Cable TV hunting show hosts pleads guilty in poaching case

    by Associated Press on Nov 24, 21:31

    The host of a cable TV hunting show has pleaded guilty as part of an investigation into poaching on a remote national preserve in Alaska. The terms of a plea deal signed by Clark W. Dixon on Monday call for an 18-month prison sentence, a $75,000 fine and forfeiture of trophies and weapons that the […]

  • Lifestyle

    Young PFD recipient donates $100 to Alaska Zoo through Pick.Click.Give.

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 24, 21:21

    The Alaska Zoo is one of Haddi Lofgren’s favorite places. The two-year-old is particularly fond of the wolves. “She is a big fan of dogs and I think she resonates with the wolves because we have puppies at home,” her mom, Amanda Lofgren, explained. Lofgren takes her kids to the zoo almost every weekend. When […]

  • Politics

    UPDATE: Governor says he’s not privy to some information as lead of state gas line project

    by Liz Raines on Nov 24, 20:30

    Gov. Bill Walker says he is the lead on the state’s project for a natural gas pipeline, but says he isn’t privy to certain information negotiated on the project with some state commissioners because they’ve signed confidentiality agreements and he hasn’t. In a phone interview late Tuesday night, the governor said he is not involved in […]

  • News

    Holiday drive seeks laptops for foster youth

    by Lauren Maxwell on Nov 24, 20:25

    An annual drive to help foster youth by providing them with laptop computers is underway. Rep. Les Gara is once again coordinating with the nonprofit Facing Foster Care in Alaska to try and get laptops into the hands of foster youth. Gara said Alaska is facing a record number of children in foster care this […]