New, gruesome details on Hopewell cab driver’s murder emerge in court

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — For the first time since their son’s brutal murder, Burton and David Wells heard the gruesome details about his death.

Navy veteran James Wells was abducted, repeatedly stabbed, and then set on fire alive.

“It was like that day all over again, except worse,” said Mala Burton, Wells’ mother. She and Wells’ father were at a preliminary hearing in Hanover County Tuesday.

“I couldn’t believe that a human could do that to someone else,” said David Wells, the father.

Alisa Dejesus, 19, and Dyshawn Simpson, 21, are charged with first degree murder.

In the early morning hours of August 9, police say the pair hired Wells to drive them to Hanover. Simpson told police he panicked over not having money for the fare, and stabbed Wells. His girlfriend, 7 months pregnant, drove the taxi as Wells moaned in pain, barely conscious. Simpson then used a road flare to set wells on fire.

“To hear them say that he was still talking or trying to communicate, and they put the flair on him and burnt him alive. Knowing that was the last moment your son lived, that’s the hard part,” said David Wells.

“He was my only son, and they took that from me,” said Burton.

Wells was a member of the 2003 Hopewell High School state champion football team. He was trying to make money for him and his wife, hoping to have a child.

“He would’ve been a wonderful father. He had compassion. He was very special, not just because he was my son. He was a special person…I just don’t want people to forget that,” said David Wells.

The prosecutor hopes these horrifying details could serve as the basis for capital murder charges.

“If it could prevent another family from going through something like this because of them, then yes,” said Burton.

“I feel that would be justice. There was no remorse, there was no ‘it was an accident.’ it was planned out,” said David Wells.

The pair appears before a Hanover Grand Jury on June 16.

If charges are upgraded to capital murder, they could face the death penalty, which James Wells’ parents say the couple deserves.

Stay with 8News for the latest updates and continuing coverage of this developing story.

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