Cold case: 23-year-old man likely knew and trusted his killers - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: 23-year-old man likely knew and trusted his killers

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Cold case investigators say a Portland man found shot to death across the street from a school likely knew and trusted his killers.

Police responding to reports of gunfire found the body of Jamaal Wells face down near the intersection of Northeast 18th and Mason on Jan. 31, 2004.

The 23-year-old was face down and surrounded by multiple shell casings.

"That was horrific to me," said Carla Joseph, Wells' cousin. "He was just a kid, 23 years old. Who the hell would shoot somebody nine times like that? That was brutal, that's anger. That's like, what did he do?"

Joseph raised Wells in Oakland, CA, before he moved to Portland. She said he was more like her child than her cousin. She remembers he was always smiling.

His death came as a big shock.

"Then it was like a question mark," said Joseph. "And it stayed that way. And it's been that way."

Cold case investigators with the Portland Police Bureau are still trying to answer that question.

While Wells was affiliated with gang members, they don't know why he was killed.

"The fact that he was shot multiple times suggests anger and a certain viciousness that is difficult to understand given the somewhat laid back, easy-going personality that seems to come through about Jamaal," said Dick Pashley, a retired FBI agent reviewing the case with PPB.

Wells did not own a car, so he typically relied on cabs and rides from friends to get around.

On the day he was killed, Wells took a cab to meet friends at Club Exotica at 1:30 a.m.

Three hours later, neighbors called 911 to report shots fired in the area of Northeast 18th and Mason.

Investigators said Wells did not know anyone living in the neighborhood.

They would like to hear from anyone who knows what time Wells left Club Exotica, the identity of any person he left with and the type of transportation he used. They also want to know why he was in the area of 18th and Mason, because he did not know anyone living there.

You can also leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

Visit to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

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