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Man charged with murder of Hopewell cab driver played football at Thomas Jefferson

Posted at 12:28 AM, Mar 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-05 07:14:03-05

RICHMOND, Va. - News of the arrest of 20-year-old Dyshawn Simpson, for the murder of a James Wells, has spread fast at Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond.

Simpson was a former student and quarterback at the high school, and according to his younger brother, Simpson graduated in 2013.

On Monday Simpson was charged with first-degree murder, along with 19-year-old Alisa N. Dejesus. Both suspects were arrested in Richmond, in connection with the death of  Wells, a Hopewell taxi cab driver whose body was found burned out in his cab on August 9, 2014.

jameswells

James Wells

Investigators said that hours earlier on the night he died, Wells had picked up Simpson and Dejesus. Hanover investigators said Wells drove his 2004 gray Chevrolet minivan taxi from the Econo Lodge on Colonel Corner Drive in Hopewell, to Mechanicsville where he was found dead.

“Upon arrival to the Mechanicsville area, an altercation occurred which incapacitated the victim," Hanover Sheriff’s spokesman Major Mike Trice wrote in an email. "James Wells ultimately died of injuries related to the fire.”

Malibu Wells, James’ widow, said this does bring some sort of closure for the family, but there’s still many questions. Wells said she and James Wells had no relationship with the two suspects.

Others, who knew the suspects are struggling with the news.

"We're all shocked, I've heard different parts of stories from different people," said Evan Schuster, a student at Thomas Jefferson.

CBS 6 spoke with Simpson's younger brother off camera Wednesday. He said the two young suspects have a child together.

Wells suspects

He also said Dejesus was seven months pregnant at the time James Wells was killed, and he said he does not believe they could do something like this.

Evan Schuster was a freshman at Thomas Jefferson when Simpson was a junior. He said Simpson was someone many students looked up to.

"Coming in as a freshman and being an underclassmen and he's opening up to you, I guess it's a big deal, you just looked up to him as somebody who has their back, like an older brother," he said.

Still, for the wife of James Wells, she can't comprehend why anyone would hurt her husband.

"I fully believed they burned him alive," said Malibu Wells, "What kind of monsters, they don't deserve any kind of pity."

The two suspects are scheduled to appear in court in May.