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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of July 10 - 16, 2002


Hailey man kills 
friend and himself

Express Staff Writer

A Hailey man apparently shot a friend, then turned his rifle on himself early last Wednesday morning following an evening of drink and argument.

David Wells, 38, was found dead July 3 inside the house he owned at 2950 Woodside Blvd. after shots were reported about 12:30 a.m. The body of Anthony Purcell, 21, was found outside the front door of the house.

According to a press release from the Hailey Police Department, the men had spent the day at Magic Reservoir with two 17-year-old girls, both Hailey residents. Police do not yet know all the details leading up to the shooting but have pieced together most of what happened from statements obtained from the girls.

The girls reported that on the trip back from Magic, with drinking going on in the car, Wells became angry. One of the girls got out of the car at Guffy’s in Bellevue.

The three remaining occupants drove to Wells’ house. Upon arrival, Wells was still very angry and a physical altercation occurred between him and the second girl. Purcell and the girl left the house and went to Purcell’s residence at Baldy View apartments, also in Woodside.

Purcell went back to Wells’ house, then returned home with him. He told the girl there that Wells had put a gun to his head and threatened him. Upon entering Purcell’s residence, Wells kicked open the door. He apparently took a handgun from the apartment and left.

He returned and confronted the girl, putting a gun to her head and threatening to kill her and Purcell. He left and returned home.

Purcell eventually discovered that his gun was missing and went to retrieve it from Wells. A short time later, the Hailey Police Department received a report that two shots had been fired at Wells’ residence, four to five minutes apart.

It appears that Purcell was shot in the back as he left Wells’ front door. The gun reportedly stolen by Wells was found, unloaded, near Purcell’s body.

A 30-30 rifle was found near Wells’ body inside the house. The bullet believed to have killed Purcell was found lodged in the side of a house across the street. Its trajectory indicated that it had been fired from a window adjacent to Well’s front door.

Damage to the door frame at Purcell’s apartment lent confirmation to the girls’ stories.

Police continue to process evidence and interview people who may have been witnesses to the events leading up to the shootings.

Wells had pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within the city limits.

Wells’ former wife had filed divorce proceedings against him in March. He was charged in May with two counts of violating a no-contact order obtained by her, regarding telephone threats and a shoving incident at The Mint Bar in Hailey. He was also charged with domestic battery in regard to the incident at The Mint. According to the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, he was scheduled to plead guilty to those charges this Friday.

Wells had also recently been charged with domestic battery in Gooding County against another woman. However, according to the Gooding County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the victim recanted her story and the charge was dropped.

He was convicted in June of a related misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge there.

An obituary for Wells appears on Page A21 of the July 10, 2002 printed edtion of the Idaho Mountain Express.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.