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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kodiak Man charged with murder of two Coast Guard Employees

Anchorage, Alaska B U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that James Michael Wells, 61, of Kodiak was indicted by a federal grand jury for the murders of U.S. Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate First Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Richard Belisle.  Belisle, who was working as a Coast Guard civilian employee and Hopkins, were murdered at the U.S. Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak on April 12, 2012. Wells’ is charged with four counts of premeditated murder and two counts of using a weapon in a crime of violence.  All counts relate to the two murders. 

Wells was arrested on February 15, 2013, under a federal arrest warrant based on a criminal complaint.  As charged each count carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Anyone with knowledge of the facts or information concerning these events is urged to contact the FBI.

Ms. Loeffler notes that the indictment comes after an extensive investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Coast Guard Investigative Service, with support from the Alaska State Troopers.  

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 29, 2015