Suspect arrested in double homicide on Kodiak Coast Guard base

Wells arrest

Jim Wells (left) is shown in this official USCG photo from a project on Shemya Island in July 2011. Also shown are the two men Wells is accused of killing in April 2012, retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Richard Belisle (second from left) and USCG Petty Officer James Hopkins (second from right). Photo by Charly Hengen/USCG.

The U.S. Attorney in Anchorage on Friday announced an arrest in the double murder at the Communications Station at Coast Guard Base Kodiak nearly a year ago.

James Michael “Jim” Wells, long considered the prime suspect by the FBI, was taken into custody by members of the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Alaska State Troopers.

On April 12, 2012, U.S. Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate First Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Richard Belisle were found shot to death in one of the buildings at the communications station by coworkers. Belisle was working for the Coast Guard as a civilian contractor at the time. Wells was also employed at the communications station.

FBI spokesman Eric Gonzales said Wells’ arrest came after an officer filed a criminal complaint and a federal arrest warrant was issued. Gonzales said the complaint, or affidavit, will remain sealed until Wells appears in court, which is expected sometime next week in Anchorage. That means the underlying details and facts leading up to the arrest remain confidential. Gonzales did not say what the motive in the killings might have been.

The arrest came after 10 months of investigation led by the FBI and the Coast Guard Investigative Service, along with the Alaska State Troopers.

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