Spokane police arrested 33-year-old Robby Wahrer on suspicion that he drove the getaway van in the December killing of South Hill businessman Doug Carlile.
The arrest comes months after Wahrer told friends that he thought Carlile’s kneecaps were to be broken, not that he would be shot and killed in his home on South Garfield Road, according to police.
Wahrer faces a second-degree murder charge and is in jail on $1 million bail. Timothy Suckow has been accused of killing Carlile and remains jailed in the murder-for-hire conspiracy with roots in the North Dakota oil fields.
Several police informants told investigators that Wahrer admitted to driving the white van caught on security cameras near the shooting scene and broadcast throughout the city. Through cellphone record searches, investigators also determined Wahrer and Suckow texted and called each other frequently in the hours before and after Carlile was killed, according to court records.
Also mentioned in the investigation is a former business associate of Carlile’s, James Henrikson, who is being held in a North Dakota jail on federal firearms charges.
Spokane police Lt. Mark Griffiths said Friday the multiagency probe into the slaying is ongoing.
“This investigation is extensive and will be going on for many more months,” Griffiths said.
Police say Wahrer told two people who came forward to police that he thought the man he drove to Carlile’s home was only going to break his legs or kneecaps. Wahrer told the informants he was puzzled by the length of time he waited in the van for his passenger to emerge.
“The concerned citizens are probably the tipping point that reached to (Wahrer) as a suspect,” Griffiths said.
Wahrer did not mention Suckow’s name to the informants, according to court documents.
Court records show Wahrer, an eight-time convicted felon, was arrested in November for allegedly selling methamphetamine. He missed a court appearance Dec. 11, four days before the shooting, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was picked up by police Dec. 17. Suckow posted bond for Wahrer on Christmas Eve, according to court documents.
Investigators allege Suckow broke into Carlile’s home, then shot and killed him as he returned from church with his wife. Suckow has pleaded not guilty. Investigators believe Henrikson hired Suckow to carry out the killing and that Carlile owed Henrikson money for oil speculating deals on the Bakken fields.
An extended-cab white van was caught on nearby surveillance cameras pulling up to and leaving the scene. DNA evidence found on a dropped glove linked Suckow to the crime. Court filings earlier this week indicated more arrests in the case were coming.