Jerzy Shedlock

The fourth day of testimony in the trial of James Michael Wells included a former U.S. Coast Guard member detailing how he and others who worked in what is called the rigger shop -- Wells’ workplace, where he allegedly slipped in unnoticed and murdered two coworkers -- performed maintenance on their vehicles at the shop’s garage.

On the morning of the alleged murders, Wells said he was late for work due to a flat tire on his truck; a nail had punctured the tire. Video surveillance shows Wells driving past the Coast Guard’s main gate toward the Kodiak State Airport, and allegedly beyond that to the rigger shop. Wells’ white Dodge passed the main gate again on his way home to fix his tire, he told authorities. In that 30-minute time span, two men were killed...

Jerzy Shedlock

Chief Petty Officer Scott Reckner, whose name popped up frequently during the first week of the murder case against James Michael Wells, testified Thursday that he and other coworkers of two killed men were “devastated” immediately following fatal shootings on Kodiak Island in April 2012.

Reckner said he tried to enter the crime scene, but Coast Guard police officers kept him at bay. Wells arrived shortly thereafter, and Reckner told him “someone shot Jim and Rich.” Wells replied that his tire was flat, Reckner said. Throughout the day, people cried over those lost as Wells allegedly napped and “appeared fine,” he said...

Jerzy Shedlock

As the second day of testimony in the federal murder case against James Wells continued, jurors heard from a line of uniformed personnel including Coast Guard petty officers, military police and emergency responders.

A maritime enforcement specialist who’s part of the Coast Guard’s police force, echoed what numerous witnesses have already said: The two victims found two years ago in a Kodiak military building were laying on the floor with sizeable pools of blood around their torsos and heads.

Wells was an antenna maintenance worker who’s accused of killing two U.S. Coast Guard members on Kodiak, the second largest island in the United States and home to a major military base...

Jerzy Shedlock

The third day of the trial of James Michael Wells, who has been charged with murder for allegedly killing two U.S. Coast Guard members in 2012, began with testimony from the Coast Guard officer who discovered the dead, bloodied bodies of his coworkers.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Jay Beauford testified he entered his workplace and headed for his desk in a room labeled break room. Inside, he said he found the body of James Hopkins, nearly in the fetal position with his hands resting on his head.

“My first thought was someone was trying to play a practical joke on me,” Beauford said. Jokes and pranks were not outside of what was considered appropriate, he said...

Jerzy Shedlock

The government on Tuesday afternoon introduced its first witnesses in the criminal case against James Michael Wells, accused of murdering two U.S. Coast Guard members in April 2012, following opening statements. Those appearing on the second day of the trial were the first of many witnesses federal prosecutors plan to call during a trial that could last a month...

Jerzy Shedlock

Two U.S. Coast Guard members killed in cold blood had no reason to be surprised on the last day of their lives, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said Tuesday during opening statements in the trial of James Michael Wells, accused of the double homicide. The alleged murderer knew the layout of the workspace, and there’s no evidence to suggest the victims had the slightest chance of defending themselves, Loeffler said...

Jerzy Shedlock

The parties in the trial of James Michael Wells chose their 15-member jury Monday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Anchorage. Wells, 63, who was working for the U.S. Coast Guard on Kodiak, stands accused of the premeditated murders of two coworkers.

He faces charges for allegedly shooting 41-year-old James Hopkins and 51-year-old Richard Belisle. Authorities never found the murder weapon, a key piece of missing evidence the defense says raises doubts about who committed the murders...

Jerzy Shedlock

A bright-eyed recovering substance abuser who was making gains in her hometown of Sand Point, advocating for a halt in the flood of methamphetamine and heroin to the community, has been charged with possession and breaking her parole conditions after a routine compliance check.

Alaska Dispatch published a story Thursday highlighting the efforts of a group called Reclaim Alaska in the Aleutian town, where concerned citizens have banded together to create a healthier environment for kids and adults, hoping to curb rampant drug abuse. It held a gathering Thursday at Sand Point School, during which Lucinda Holmberg had planned to speak...

Jerzy Shedlock

After nearly four years, an Anchorage sexual assault case was supposed to come to an end Friday. Instead, David Standifer -- a homeless man who tried to discredit his rape victim by saying she suffered from regret, not rape, and that her alcoholic and possibly bipolar mind had betrayed her perceptions -- will wait another three months before receiving his sentence.

Standifer, 41, faces a 60-to-99-year sentence after a jury found him guilty in November of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and assault...

Jerzy Shedlock

Two men stand accused of sexually abusing a young girl in the Southwest village of Chuathbaluk, 11 miles up the Kuskokwim River from Aniak.

The elder of the two defendants, Peter Nick Jr., 43, has been charged with first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. The state is charging him with sexually abusing a teenage girl on a single night in July of 2013.

Lionel Pitka, 26, has been charged with second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He is accused of abusing the girl about a month earlier than Nick...

Jerzy Shedlock

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