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Prosecutors to open Coast Guard shooting trial

Apr. 1, 2014 - 07:57AM   |  
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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Jurors will hear opening statements Tuesday in the trial of a Coast Guard civilian technician charged with killing two co-workers workers in Kodiak.

Federal prosecutors say 63-year-old James Michael Wells nearly two years ago dodged direct surveillance cameras and shot 51-year-old Richard Belisle (BEL’-eye-ul) and 41-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins at the communications station workshop where all three were employed.

Prosecutors say Wells’ had feuded with his younger co-workers and was unhappy that his authority in the shop was ebbing away.

Wells claims his truck had a soft tire and that he drove home to change it when the men were killed.

Defense attorneys say prosecutors have no physical evidence linking Wells to the crime.

The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

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