More than two months after allegedly murdering his parents, John Henry Wells made his initial appearance in Justice Court Thursday morning and had his bond set at a total of $3 million.
Wells, 43, of Morgantown is alleged of killing his parents, James and Rebecca Wells, Dec. 14, 2020, in their home. Justice Court Judge Brandon Rowell had initially denied John Wells bond when he was arrested in his hospital room Jan. 5, but at the end of the initial appearance Thursday, Rowell set the bond at $1.5 million for a murder charge.
I would like to deny him the right to get out, but I also feel the threat does warrant $1.5 million per count of murder, Rowell said.
If John Wells is able to post bail to be released, Rowell ordered that he be put under house arrest with an ankle bracelet and have no contact with the Wells family. However, he would potentially be allowed to visit or live with his wife and children. There would be a pre-notification of seven days made to his married family prior to a potential release through bond. Rowell also ordered a mental health evaluation of John Wells.
During the initial appearance, Marion County Sheriffs Office Investigator Brad Anderson took the court through what happened at approximately 5 p.m. on Dec. 14 by answering questions from City Attorney Lawrence Hahn and Wells attorneys.
Anderson said the events began when John Wells returned to Wells Water Well Drilling & Repair, which is the family business, after going out on a service call. An employee noticed John Wells erratic behavior and believed he could be impaired. The employee contacted Mitchell Wells, who is John Wells brother. Mitchell Wells then called John Wells and told him to leave the business. The Sheriffs Office was contacted and informed John Wells may be impaired and driving in the area.
Contact was then made with a vehicle that had left John Wells home at a high rate of speed by deputies, and the occupants of the vehicle believed to be John Wells children informed deputies that John Wells appeared inebriated when he got home and he was loading up guns with ammunition, according to Andersons testimony. Captain Pete Williams then informed deputies at the traffic stop that Mitchell Wells had received two pictures of his deceased parents and two text messages that each read You see what you have coming, allegedly sent from John Wells phone.
When deputies arrived at the residence of James and Rebecca Wells, located in the 1000 block of Mississippi 587, contact was made with John Wells at the back of the home. Deputies ordered John Wells, who was holding a rifle, to drop his weapon, but he instead turned the gun and fired at the deputies, initiating a gunfight. During the exchange of gunfire, John Wells had switched to using a semi-automatic handgun. John Wells was shot twice in the leg and in the side before switching back to the rifle and turning the gun on himself. The three deputies Andrew Reid, Delandoe Watts and Williams at the scene were not hit by John Wells gunfire. Anderson said Reid and Watts were wearing body cameras that captured the exchange of gunfire.
When investigators from the Sheriffs Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation entered the residence, James and Rebecca Wells were found in the exact same position that were shown in the pictures that were allegedly sent by John Wells, according to Anderson. One of the pictures included a foot wearing a green Croc believed to be the photographers foot that was identical to the shoes John Wells was wearing when he was apprehended.
Because of the injuries sustained by the three gunshot wounds, John Wells has not yet been interviewed. During his appearance Thursday, a mechanical device remained attached to the outside of his jaw, and he was in a wheelchair. Until his bond was discussed, he kept his head down the entire time.
All the aforementioned information about the incident in question came directly from Andersons testimony.
The case remains under investigation by both the Sheriffs Office and the MBI.