Kodiak Daily Mirror - Nancy Wells goes on record with post trial questions
Nancy Wells goes on record with post-trial questions
by Peter J Mladineo
Jun 04, 2014 | 1147 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Screenshot of the mysterious white pickup in the T2 rigger shop lot the night before the murders of Hopkins and Belisle. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Wells)
Screenshot of the mysterious white pickup in the T2 rigger shop lot the night before the murders of Hopkins and Belisle. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Wells)
The wife of convicted murderer James Michael Wells broke her post-trial silence on Friday, acknowledging the pain of the ordeal and insisting that there are unanswered questions about the murders.

Mrs. Wells came to the Mirror offices with her attorney’s representative, Homer-based private investigator Andy Klamser.

Nancy Wells told the Daily Mirror, “I believe my husband’s innocent. I don’t think he did this at all.”

Wells was convicted by jury in April and faces a maximum of life in prison at his July 8 sentencing.

While no appeals have been filed yet, Mrs. Wells holds out hope there may be an unforeseen breakthrough in the case that would favor her husband.

Mrs. Wells said she is just trying to gather information on “two issues that we thought were not covered during the trial.”

The gun

Mrs. Wells asked for public help getting more information on the murder weapon, which has not been recovered.

Prosecutors said in the trial that Wells had used a stainless steel .44 Smith & Wesson Magnum revolver to kill Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins

and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle.

Wells was believed to have used a handgun left in a gun safe belonging to a friend, John Stein.

Stein had, according to trial testimonies, moved a gun safe to the Wells’ house when he left Kodiak for a vacation in the mid-1990s, giving Wells the combination.

Stein testified in the trial that the .44 Smith & Wesson revolver — the same gun the prosecution said Wells used to kill Hopkins and Belisle — was later missing from the safe.

Mrs. Wells questions whether the weapon was actually left in her husband’s safekeeping. Also, both of Wells’ sons testified at the trial about their doubts that their father had ever possessed the weapon.

“I don’t believe the gun was in the gun safe,” Mrs. Wells said.

She added that she hopes that “somebody would have some information about any guns that Stein was selling or trading, this particular Smith & Wesson 629 with a long barrel.”

The white pickup

Mrs. Wells also questions the white pickup truck, seen on camera driving past the rigger shop the night before the killings in April 2013.

Klamser said, “The camera captured the truck pulling in and pulling through the driveway (of the rigger shop) fairly slowly. About five to eight minutes later the truck comes back and then pulls directly up to a camera and then pulls out again.”

“It was being followed both times by a little dark car that was moving so fast that it’s not distinguishable on the video on T1 but it was noted in their log because it was very unusual. Then this truck drove into the area near T2, farther away and then within a few minutes came back,” said Mrs. Wells.

T1 was the rigger shop on Anton Larson Bay Road in a relatively secluded area.

It was where the killings took place. T2 was the main communications station, located just down the road.

The truck “ended up on the Anton Larsen side of the road, going out toward the bay. It was never seen on the camera for the rest of the night,” said Mrs. Wells.

“We had no idea whether it had anything to do with the crime; however, anything that was over on the Anton Larsen side is of very deep interest to us since anyone who approached the rigger shop from that side would never have been picked up by the cameras, so they may have seen something that would be helpful also. So we’re hoping someone can recall the truck,” said Mrs. Wells.

Klamser said they believe the car was either an older model Toyota or a Ford Ranger.

Mrs. Wells acknowledged that “lots of prayer” has been helping her get through these last two “difficult” years.

“We have tremendous faith in God and wonderful friends and family. God knows the truth,” she said.

“I pray daily for the victims’ families. I know the pain I feel and I can’t even imagine and I don’t want to (imagine) the pain that they feel. This was a horrible, horrible tragedy. And I think someone in Kodiak knows why it happened,” she added.

Contact Peter J. Mladineo at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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