How A Case Of Mistaken Identity Led To The Murder Of Blaine Wells

Mob movies are some of the most popular and enticing cinematic narratives on the market. Audiences adore films like "Goodfellas" and "Casino," and the subject of organized crime seems to be a timelessly hot topic in and of itself. Perhaps it's the harrowing mystery woven into the idea of secret hierarchies controlling factions of society beyond our scope of knowledge that makes it so captivating. However, many of those disturbing stories are based on real life, and you can bet that the truth of the matter doesn't always shine through in the movies. 

The horrific byproduct of gangs and organized crime existing among us can be lethal to those who aren't even involved. In 2016, one innocent man lost his life when he mistakenly became the target of a gang-related assassination in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In February of that year, 23-year-old Blaine Wells was shot and killed in what was later deemed a hit orchestrated by the Irish Mob against the United Aryan Brotherhood. Tragically, Wells received a bullet that wasn't intended for him after the crime faction erroneously believed him to be somebody else entirely (via News on 6). 

Blaine Wells was mistaken for an Aryan gang member

It was in the early morning hours of February 21 that 39-year-old Irish Mob associate Shane Vanderpool exited his car and approached the vehicle in which Blaine Wells was seated along with two others. He produced a .40 caliber pistol and fired into the back seat before running off. The bullet struck Wells in the head and he died at the hospital later on. "Appellant shot and killed Blaine Wells shortly after sunrise on February 21, 2016. The two men did not know one another. They had not interacted with each other prior to Wells' death. Instead, the shooting appeared to be an instance of mistaken identity," an official court document read (per Caselaw Access Project). 

As to why Vanderpool so vehemently believed Blaine Wells to be a member of the United Aryan Brotherhood or what led him to that conclusion, the details are still rather murky. However, it was later confirmed that the Irish Mob henchman thought Wells was rival Aryan Kevin Pilon and fired a bullet into the car, mistaking Wells for Pilon. Vanderpool was later arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole, as Tulsa World reports.

Irish Mob holds mother and two daughters hostage

Shortly after the murder of Wells, members of the Irish Mob in Tulsa kidnapped a young woman and her two daughters after she provided police with information about the incident. According to The Oklahoman, Josh Edward Krepps (30) and Timothy James Ray Ignatovich (34) abducted the woman and her children and held them hostage in a motel parking lot, repeatedly threatening to "knock her teeth out" and "finish her" for her cooperation in the investigation. 

However, Ignatovich later claimed that his act of aggression had nothing to do with the Wells investigation. "An associate of mine had previously asked me to collect a debt from the woman, and instructed me to knock out her teeth," he explained. "But I did not want to do that in front of her children." Despite alleged orders from the top to seize the woman's vehicle to rectify her supposed debt, the men surrendered to police and released the three hostages unharmed, as The Oklahoman reports.