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Closing Arguments Made in James Wells Murder Trial

By Dan Carpenter, Oil, Gas, Native Issues, Corporations and Subsistence Multimedia Reporter, dcarpenter@ktuu.com
Published On: Apr 24 2014 06:53:40 PM AKDT
ANCHORAGE -

The fate of a man accused of a double murder is now in the hands of a jury.
Closing arguments were presented Thursday in the case against James Wells, a Kodiak man accused of killing two Coast Guard coworkers in 2012.

Through a detailed reconstruction of Wells' movements and an investigation into his past, the prosecution says Wells is the only man who could have shot and killed Coast Guard Electrician's Mate First Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Boatswain's Mate Richard Belisle.

Prosecutors say the attack was carefully planned, and only Wells had the motive and strategic knowledge of Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak to carry out the double murder.

They argue Wells used his wife's blue Honda CR-V in the crime and then switched cars later, calling a friend to say he needed help fixing a flat tire.

A blue vehicle is seen on surveillance video before and after the time investigators believe the murder occurred -- but even the prosecution's own expert witness says there is a 70 percent chance the car seen belonged to Wells' wife.

The defense says that testimony alone creates reasonable doubt, and Wells should be acquitted for that reason. It calls the government's case a house of cards, because the case hinges on positively identifying the car.

The defense also says Wells didn't have a motive, characterizing past conflicts with coworkers including Hopkins and Belisle as trivial employment issues.

The prosecution says Wells carefully planned his attack and fabricated an alibi.
Wells’ attorney says the defendant wasn't capable of committing the brutal murder -- but someone else was, someone the government failed to capture.

Now only the jury can decide if Wells was responsible for the deaths of Hopkins and Belisle, based on the evidence at hand.