Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man accused of murder tried to hire hitman to kill accomplice, charges say

A Fairbanks man charged with murder in an August shooting that left two people dead is accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill the other suspect charged in the case.

Joshua Bell and Kapri Willis, both 20, were charged last week with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 28-year-old Ricardo Duperior and 18-year-old Rachel Wright. Bell is also facing a charge of solicitation for murder and tampering with evidence.

Bell and Willis were identified as suspects in the days after the Aug. 7 fatal shooting, but detectives conducted a lengthy investigation to build their criminal case before making any arrests, the Fairbanks Police Department said in a statement.

Interviews with other people who were at the house that day placed Bell and Willis at the scene, according to a criminal complaint written by Fairbanks detective Caleb Reuter, and saved Snapchat photos and video on Bell’s and Willis’ phones showed them with handguns similar to the ones used in the shooting.

Bell was arrested in October on an unrelated warrant for assault and attempted murder, according to online court records. The U.S. Marshals had been investigating a 2019 assault that unfolded at a cabin in Ester, according to the complaint. During an interview with detectives, Bell said he was at the house the night of the shooting but left before it happened, the complaint said.

While he was incarcerated on those charges, Bell had a conversation at the Fairbanks Correctional Center that was secretly recorded in early February, according to the complaint. He said he shot and killed Duperior and Wright at their home and described details from that day, the complaint said.

Bell said Duperior owed him money and had spoken poorly about a friend who died, the complaint said. Bell also said during the conversation that there was a dispute about living arrangements: Willis and his brothers wanted to move into the house that Duperior and Wright shared with others, but there wouldn’t be space if Duperior continued living there, according to the complaint. Bell said the men shared their plans to kill Duperior with others, the complaint stated.


Bell said during the recorded conversation — it wasn’t clear from the document who he was speaking with — that he threatened Duperior at the home, then left and returned later to shoot him from behind, the complaint said. Bell said Wright had been asleep in her bed when the shooting occurred, and both Bell and Willis shot her because they believed she would turn them in, according to the complaint.

Detectives were then able to locate the handguns used in the shooting based on information Bell shared during that conversation, the complaint said. Both weapons, which were previously reported as stolen, had been tossed in an outhouse at Tanana Lakes, the complaint said.

Bell solicited a hitman on Feb. 27 to kill Willis, the complaint said, and a detective posing as the hitman recorded the conversation. During that call, Bell said he wanted Willis’ death to look like he died by suicide, and Bell instructed the undercover detective to leave a note at the scene that would claim Bell was not involved in the double homicide, the complaint said. Willis was the only person to witness the shooting, Bell said, according to the complaint.

Bell agreed to pay $5,000 before Willis was killed and another $5,000 afterward, the complaint said.

Willis was arrested Wednesday, according to Fairbanks police. Both men are incarcerated at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at