• 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

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, March 28

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 28, 18:30

  • News

    Alaska Air National Guard assists in rescue of 2 Saudi pilots from Gulf of Aden

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 18:20

    Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard, currently deployed to Djibouti, Africa, assisted in the rescue of two Saudi pilots from the Gulf of Aden on Friday. The pilots were rescued off the coast of Yemen after they ejected from their F-15 aircraft, according to various news outlets. Approximately 120 Alaska Air National guardsmen from the […]

  • News

    16 Black Hawk helicopters back in Alaska, ready to help with civilian emergencies

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 15:20

    Sixteen Army Black Hawk helicopters are back in Alaska and ready to help with civilian medical emergencies after spending nine months in Afghanistan. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1MgUB22 ) reports the military helicopters supplement Alaska’s civilian fleet of about two dozen medical helicopters operated by private companies including Life Flight, Life Med and Guardian. In […]

  • Crime

    Man injured in leg in West Anchorage shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 14:15

    Police say a man was struck in the leg by gunfire in a shooting in West Anchorage Saturday afternoon. At around 1 p.m., witnesses say there was a disturbance between two groups of people in a parking lot near the 1300 block of West Northern Lights Boulevard, according to a release from the Anchorage Police […]

  • News

    Government Hill resident reads found letter from 1964 Alaska earthquake

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 28, 13:36

    Friday, March 27, marked the 51st anniversary of the devastating Good Friday earthquake. On that day, just after 5:30 p.m., violent shaking erupted without warning across Southcentral Alaska. It has become known as the most powerful earthquake ever in North America, taking the lives of more than 100 people. This week, Alaska lawmakers passed legislation to […]

  • Politics

    ASD, state lawmakers spar over budget concerns

    by Joe Vigil on Mar 27, 22:51

    First state lawmakers fired off a letter criticizing Anchorage School Board members for passing a budget that included nearly $12 million cut by Gov. Bill Walker in January. Now the Anchorage School Board president is firing back with a letter of his own to state lawmakers. In that letter, Eric Croft says that while the district […]

  • News

    Amanda Knox grateful to ‘have my life back’ after court saga

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:25

          SEATTLE- Amanda Knox says she’s grateful “for the life that’s been given to me” after Italy’s highest court overturned her murder conviction in the slaying of her roommate. Speaking briefly Friday evening to reporters outside her mother’s Seattle home, Knox expressed her thanks “for the justice I’ve received and for the support […]

  • News

    House panel moves bill addressing municipal marijuana regs

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:19

    A bill addressing how municipalities regulate marijuana businesses has moved out of a House committee. The House Judiciary Committee moved a new version of Rep. Cathy Tilton’s bill, which would help define a municipality’s role in regulating marijuana businesses, set a maximum household limit of 24 marijuana plants and add marijuana clubs to the list […]