CLE# 2010-059: Fairbanks' Crime of the 20th Century: The Cecil Wells Murder
Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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On a chilly night in October 1953, Fairbanks businessman Cecil Wells was murdered while he slept in his bed. Wells was wealthy and prominent, a successful automobile dealer in Fairbanks and Anchorage too. Suspicion fell on his much-younger wife Diane, a stunning blonde.
The case became a sensation because of Diane’s involvement with Johnny Warren, a black musician. Murder, sex, and race fueled national and international coverage of the case. Life Magazine published a long piece on the murder, featuring numerous photographs of Diane. Papers in the British Isles called Fairbanks searching for a scoop. Ted Stevens indicted Diane and Johnny - his first big case as the Fairbanks district attorney. A chaotic publicity war about guilt, innocence and the competence of local police followed.