Man behind oil patch murder-for-hire plot pleads guilty

SPOKANE — A North Dakota man faces four decades in prison after pleading guilty to having a hit man kill two of his business associates — one who was bludgeoned to death at a truck shop and another who was shot at his upscale home while his wife hid in a closet.

James Henrikson, 36, admitted Friday in federal court in Spokane that he ordered the deaths of Kristopher Clarke and Doug Carlile, associates tied to North Dakota’s oil-field business. Henrikson said he employed Timothy Suckow as the hit man both times.

Federal prosecutors will seek a 40-year prison term when Henrikson is sentenced Dec. 18, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Henrikson acknowledged in court that Clarke was killed in February 2012, bludgeoned to death by Suckow in Henrikson’s North Dakota truck shop.

Suckow fatally shot Carlile in December 2013 in Carlile’s upscale Spokane home.

Carlile’s wife, Elberta Carlile, called 911 that night. She cried silently when Henrikson matter-of-factly described his role in the killing to U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza.

“I contacted Robert Delao, to contact Tim Suckow, to kill Doug Carlile,” Henrikson said in court.

U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby said after the hearing that Henrikson could receive a lesser sentence if he assisted in locating Clarke’s body, thought to be buried on state park land near Watford City, North Dakota.

Helping to find Clarke’s body was not part of the plea deal, Ormsby said.

Other conspirators in the deaths have received sentences between eight years and 30 years, including Todd Bates, who pleaded guilty to charges earlier Friday in exchange for a prison sentence of eight years and four months.

Jill Williams, Clarke’s mother, said she was shocked by the deal.

“It’s not justice,” Williams said. “He caused the death of two people. Forty years is not anywhere near enough.”

Bates pleaded guilty to buying heroin in Chicago for Henrikson and soliciting a would-be hit man nicknamed “The Wiz” to kill another man for $25,000 at Henrikson’s direction. That killing was never carried out.

The pleas of Bates and Henrikson end an investigation that began after Carlile was shot and killed while his wife hid in an upstairs bedroom closet Dec. 15, 2013. Spokane detectives called Henrikson that night and questioned him, based on statements by Carlile’s sons that Carlile feared his business partner might turn violent.

Henrikson initially denied involvement, but he told police that Carlile, a self-employed contractor, owed him nearly $2 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed told Mendoza during the hearing that the investigation revealed no evidence that Carlile had taken money from Henrikson.

Investigators pieced together a web that showed Delao had been contacting Suckow and Bates about contract killings and assaults on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota and elsewhere. They included offers of money to kill Tex Hall, the former chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations.

Three men pleaded guilty in the case earlier this month. Prosecutors will recommend a 30-year prison term for Suckow, the hit man. Delao pleaded guilty to nine federal counts, including involvement in setting up the Carlile murder, and is expected to receive a 14- to 17-year prison sentence. Lazaro Pesina, who was present outside the Carlile home, pleaded guilty to racketeering. Prosecutors are recommending a 12-year sentence for him.

Henrikson’s ex-wife, Sarah Creveling, was indicted on federal fraud charges in North Dakota related to her business dealings with Henrikson.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lynnwood
Lynnwood’s car tab fee and utility tax on chopping block again

City Council members will talk about repealing them. If they do, the mayor is prepared to veto their actions.

Most of Compass Health’s clinical employees at the Marysville, Monroe and Snohomish sites will transfer to its Everett locations. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Lawsuit blames counselor’s ‘unethical’ relationship for Marysville man’s death

Joshua Klick was referred to a counselor at Compass Health. Two years later he was shot and killed.

Marysville
Smokey Point Boulevard stretch closed for crash investigation

The road was closed between 136th Street NE and 152nd Street NE after a possibly fatal collision.

Doug Ewing looks out over a small section of the Snohomish River that he has been keeping clean for the last ten years on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at the Oscar Hoover Water Access Site in Snohomish, Washington. Ewing scours the shorelines and dives into the depths of the river in search of trash left by visitors, and has removed 59 truckloads of litter from the quarter-mile stretch over the past decade. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Diving for trash in Snohomish River, biologist fills 59 pickup beds

At Thomas’ Eddy, Doug Ewing estimates he has collected 3,000 pounds of lead fishing weights. And that’s just one spot.

Melissa Batson unfurls a Groundhog Day flag designed by her niece Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at her home in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Flags tell Monroe woman’s transgender journey — and more

The flagpole in her front yard is a visual for Facebook posts about who Melissa Batson is and how she got there.

Alyssa and Hart Bleifuss own and operate the newly opened Pie Dive Bar in Snohomish, Washington on May 17, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Pie Dive Bar opens in Snohomish. Yep, it’s exactly how it sounds.

Open a dive bar, but make it a late night pie bakery.

News logo for Food Forum. 20220418
A classic and simple recipe for sorrel soup

Visit your favorite farmers market to buy sorrel for this springtime recipe.

Wade Brickman works through a call with trainer Lars Coleman Friday afternoon at SNO911 in Everett, Washington on May 20, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Difference between life and death’: New 911 tech saves vital seconds

Snohomish County is the first in the nation to get the new technology, which reduces delays on emergency calls.

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Most Read