UPDATE: James Wells found guilty in second murder trial

A sketch artist's depiction of Wells on the stand during his 2014 trial.
By  | 

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - UPDATE 4:00 p.m. -Tuesday, Oct 8:
Katie Schurig, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the US Attorney's Office in Anchorage, says that the jury has found Wells guilty of two counts of murder, 2 counts of murder of an officer or employee of the United States and two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Original Story:
According to his defense team, James Wells has waited seven years to learn his fate. In 2014, he was given four life sentences for his alleged role in the deaths of two co-workers at a Coast Guard station in Kodiak.

But that conviction was later reversed after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the testimony of a forensic psychologist should not have been allowed at trial.

The killings allegedly took place in 2012, just after 7 a.m. at the building where all three men worked at the time. Electronic Technician 1st Class James Hopkins was Wells' immediate supervisor. Richard Belisle had previously retired from active duty service in the Coast Guard.

During Monday's closing arguments, the prosecution outlined findings from their investigation, providing a timeline that would prove that Wells carefully planned the shooting deaths of his colleagues. Prosecutors referenced surveillance camera footage as evidence that placed Wells in the area of the crime, also pointing to various inconsistencies during his extensive questioning. The U.S. Attorney's office painted a picture of Wells as a man who had fallen behind in his work, growing jealous as his co-workers took on more responsibility and more authority, ultimately leading him to take their lives. Security video from several locations across the area appear to corroborate the theory that Wells swapped vehicles before visiting the scene of the crime and that his presence was unaccounted for during a 34-minute period when the shootings occurred.

Today, Wells maintains that he was kept away from his workplace that morning by a flat tire and an unexpected bout with diarrhea. His defense team also focused on the fact that a murder weapon was never recovered, claiming that there's no conclusive physical evidence to tie Wells to the crime.

During the defense's closing argument, Well's lawyer said that Wells had spoke of his coworkers as being "like family." The defense wrapped up by referencing an eyewitness account, provided by a local man, which would've placed Wells' suspected getaway vehicle well-away from the crime scene at the time of the shooting.

The jury has been to deliberate, KTUU will continue to provide updates here as they are made available.

Copyright 2019 KTUU. All rights reserved.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus