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The LegHead Report

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Jul 08 2014
Widows to Wells: Rot in Hell
Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with Alexandra Gutierrez/APRN

    The man convicted of double murder at the Kodiak Coast Guard Base two years ago will spend the rest of his life in federal prison. 63-year-old James Wells was sentenced Tuesday to four consecutive life sentences in Anchorage federal court by Judge Ralph Beistline.
    During sentencing, Wells maintained his innocence, saying “we all suffered for this tragedy.” His defense attorney, federal public defender Rich Curtner, said “the killer is still out there.”
    However, in handing down his sentence, Beistline said Wells was a cold-blooded killer who has shown no remorse. He said Wells was the only person who had motive and opportunity in the deaths of his coworkers, Richard Belisle and James Hopkins.
    The evidence was overwhelming, Beistline said, adding “the real killer is sitting at the table in front of us.”
    U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said after the sentencing that justice was served.
    “This was really one of the most planned, premeditated and cold blooded murders that we’ve ever seen,” she said.
    The federal prosecutors’ case was largely circumstantial, as the murder weapon, a 44-magnum handgun, was never found, and there were no witnesses. Nevertheless, the jury found him guilty of first degree murder on April 25th after deliberating less than a day. The trial lasted 19 days.
    The widows of both men Wells killed also spoke at the sentencing, and both told him to “rot in hell.”
    Nicola Belisle said that no sentence would ever be enough.
    Wells was not arrested until 10 months after the murders while the FBI tried to build the case against him. Belisle said she spent that time in fear of her life, worried Wells would also kill her or her children in an attempt to stop the investigation. She spoke of sitting in her home across the street from Wells’ house with a loaded firearm, waiting for him to come after her.
    “I’m still having to look at his house every single day. I want to burn it down. It needs to go away,” Belisle said. “That’s my ultimate goal so that I don’t have to look at it for the rest of my life, and my children, my potential grandchildren that they don’t ever have to sit in our family home and see that house.”
    Belisle may get that chance, as Judge Beistline said the victims’ families are due restitution.
    Wells can appeal the sentencing within 14 days.

 
Jul 08 2014
Flash: Wells Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Terms
Tuesday, 08 July 2014

           Federal Judge Ralph Beistline has sentenced convicted CommSta killer Jim Wells to four consecutive life terms in the deaths of retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle and Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins two years ago.

 
Jul 08 2014
Sum' Arts For Kids: Radio Storytelling With Keith and Frances
Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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Frances Sandin poses with Sum' Arts camper Keith Bruce after an interview at KMXT studios in June. 

 

 

Last month KMXT partnered with the Kodiak Arts Council to put on a Sum’ Arts for Kids Radio Storytelling Camp. Students in 5th grade and higher came to the station each day for one week and learned the art of interviewing and collecting personal stories.  Then, their skills were put the test as they interviewed community members about their lives and how they came to Kodiak.
           Today we’ll hear one of those interviews, hosted and edited by camper Keith Bruce. Bruce spoke with long-time Kodiak resident Frances Sandin about what Kodiak was like in the 1960s.

 
Jul 08 2014
OuzinkieTo Get Additional Tusty Stops
Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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           As summer sailings continue, the Alaska Marine Highway System is already looking toward the next season. The winter ferry schedule was recently released, covering sailings between October 1 and April 30.
          Marine Highway System Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said the schedule for Kodiak and its surrounding villages is fairly similar to previous years, with additional Tustumena stops added in Ouzinkie.
          “Every other Friday, and that’s part of the public input that was expressed during the public comment period and so that’s really the major change that’s coming to the Kodiak island area – is that extra stop.” 

Read more...
 
Jul 07 2014
CommSta Killer to be Sentenced Tuesday
Monday, 07 July 2014

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    Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. the convicted killer in the 2012 Kodiak Coast Guard murders will be sentenced.
    James “Jim” Wells was convicted 10 weeks ago of killing two of his co-workers, Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle, at the Kodiak Coast Guard Base communications station.
    Prosecutors contended Wells, also a retired Coast Guardsman, resented the growing influence of Belisle and Hopkins in the shop where he had been a nationally recognized antenna expert, and shot them both to death on April 12th, 2012.
    The federal prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Wells, but the 62-year-old will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

 
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