A federal judge says defense attorneys in the Kodiak Coast Guard murder trial can't for now call a witness in custody on another case.

Judge Ralph Beistline ruled Friday that 38-year-old Jason Barnum didn't have a sufficient connection to testify in the trial of 62-year-old James Wells.

Wells is charged with murder in the deaths of co-workers Richard Belisle and James Hopkins on April. 12, 2012, at a communications station.

Barnum acknowledged being in Kodiak at the time but says he didn't know the slain men.

Barnum is charged with attempting to kill an Anchorage police officer at hotel in September 2012.

Barnum is heavily tattooed and prosecutor Karen Loeffler says there's no reason to call him as a witness other than to frighten the jury.