RICHLAND – Timothy Suckow described the “arsenal” of weapons he obtained illegally in Spokane, and Robert Delao talked about his plans to get in James Henrikson's good graces by delivering drugs on the second full day of testimony in Henrikson's murder-for-hire trial.
Suckow, under questioning from Henrikson's defense, said he'd bought more than a dozen illegal firearms, including the .45 caliber pistol used to kill Carlile, and around 1,500 rounds of ammunition from criminals he met on the streets. Suckow also was arrested in possession of tactical SWAT gear and an authentic-looking police badge.
“I knew a lot of people with questionable character. That's who I got my stuff from,” said Suckow, who testified for two full days about his involvement with Henrikson and the murders of Carlile and Kristopher “K.C.” Clarke.
Mark Vovos, one of the attorneys defending Henrikson, pointed out to the jury Suckow's history of mental illness. The 52-year-old was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1991 and took lithium while incarcerated in federal prison on robbery charges out of New Mexico. Suckow stopped taking mental health medications when he left probation in 2007, because the government stopped paying for his prescriptions, he said.
“I was doing good,” Suckow said. “I'd just gotten married.”
Under direct examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed, Suckow said his mental health issues did not affect his memory of bludgeoning Clarke to death in Henrikson's machine shop in February 2012, or shooting Carlile to death in his South Hill home in December 2013.
“It haunts me every day,” Suckow said of killing Clarke.
Vovos and Todd Maybrown, the other defense attorney for Henrikson, argue that Suckow and codefendant Robert Delao, who took the stand later Tuesday morning, concocted the story of Henrikson's involvement in the murders to use him as a “scapegoat” that would prevent them from receiving harsher penalties. Suckow's plea deal calls for a 30-year prison sentence, while Delao would serve between 14 and 17 years in federal prison if a judge accepts his plea deal.
Speaking so quickly U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza had to slow him, the 41-year-old Delao testified his initial dealings with Henrikson were to acquire drugs, specifically heroin, to use in making illicit pills that Henrikson could then sell.
“I was trying to get on his good side,” Delao said of Henrikson.
But Henrikson became enraged when Delao could not timely produce the heroin he'd promised. That led Delao to reaching out to Todd Bates, another defendant in the case, who put him in touch with a drug dealer nicknamed “The Wiz” out of Chicago.
Bates would later travel to Chicago in an attempt to get “the Wiz” to kill a North Dakota employee for Henrikson, according to the prosecution's case. The defense said in its opening statement Henrikson never ordered the killing of anyone.
Delao is scheduled to resume the stand after a lunch recess.
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