Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Wife: Kodiak man innocent in Coast Guard deaths

Feb. 17, 2013 - 10:05AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 17, 2013 - 10:05AM  |  
  • Filed Under

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The wife of an Alaska man arrested in last year's shooting deaths of two employees at a Coast Guard air station said Saturday that her husband is innocent.

Nancy Wells told The Associated Press she expects her husband "will be fully exonerated."

"I have full faith in my husband's innocence," she said. "I have no faith in the quality of the investigation."

James Michael Wells of Kodiak is accused in a federal murder complaint of killing Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Boatswain's Mate Richard Belisle on Kodiak Island on April 12.

Another Coast Guard member found the victims shortly after the two would have arrived for work at the station, which monitors radio traffic from ships and planes. Their bodies were found in the rigger building, where antennas are repaired.

The 61-year-old Wells was arrested Friday. He's expected to appear in court next week in Anchorage. Jail records show he is in custody at the Anchorage Jail.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis said Friday from Kodiak that, at the time of the incident, Wells was working with the victims as a civilian Coast Guard employee at the communications station. Francis added that she didn't know his current employment status.

FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage declined to discuss specifics of the case Friday evening. He has said the complaint and underlying affidavit are under court seal. He said he expected those documents to be unsealed next week.

The U.S. attorney in Alaska announced the arrest late Friday. A message left with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage Saturday wasn't immediately returned.

Hopkins, 41, was an electronics technician from Vergennes, Vt. Belisle, 51, was a former chief petty officer who continued service to the Coast Guard as a civilian employee.

Amy Belisle told the Kodiak Daily Mirror Friday she knew an arrest would come eventually in her father's death.

She said her mother, Nicola Belisle, was overjoyed when they learned of the arrest. "My sisters are not in the state, but they're also super excited because it's a little bit more closure, but it's also sad," she told the Daily Mirror.

The Kodiak Island Coast Guard base is home to cutters, helicopters and rescue swimmers that aid mariners in the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Cruise pay
CNO wants to reward fleet sailors on long deployments

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 19, 2014 3:13 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook