A Spokane judge has pushed back the trial for the alleged triggerman in the December shooting death of Doug Carlile as prosecutors dropped pursuit of the death penalty and requested more time to process items found at the scene.
“There are pieces of evidence that still need to be tested,” prosecuting attorney Larry Steinmetz told Judge Gregory Sypolt on Thursday. Sypolt called the case “extremely complicated,” with more than 200 pieces of physical evidence recovered in the investigation and interviews conducted in two states, before granting Steinmetz’s request to delay Timothy Suckow’s trial from later this month to May.
Suckow was arrested in mid-January and charged with first-degree aggravated murder in Carlile’s death. The alleged crime opened Suckow, a convicted felon, to the possibility of being sentenced to death if found guilty. The last Spokane County inmate executed was Woodrow Wilson Clark in 1946, according to state records.
Prosecutors had been given a deadline of Thursday to announce intentions to seek capital punishment, but Steinmetz said Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Tucker decided earlier this week he wouldn’t pursue the death penalty.
Among the items seized at Carlile’s South Hill residence Dec. 15 was a glove with traces of Suckow’s DNA, according to court documents. Investigators subsequently discovered firearms and an alleged checklist for the murder found in a van Suckow is thought to have driven to the home the night of the shooting.
Searches of a coworker’s home, Suckow’s Spokane Valley residence and a storage unit in his name have yielded multiple firearms and police gear, some of which was branded with the crest of the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office, according to court documents.
Prosecutors also requested on Thursday additional charges related to the discovered firearms, bringing the total number of criminal counts against Suckow to 11. His attorney, Thomas Kryzminski, said a trial delay would deprive his client of the right to a speedy trial and said the new allegations were being unjustly lumped in with the prior murder charge.
“I don’t see anything that (prosecutors) are suggesting now that could not have been done ahead of time,” Kryzminski said.
Steinmetz called the argument against delay a “tactical decision” and said he didn’t think the defense would be prepared to go to trial later this month.
“I don’t see how they could be ready, to be quite honest,” Steinmetz said.
Suckow has been linked by investigators to a former business associate of Carlile’s, James Henrikson, who remains in federal custody on firearms charges in North Dakota. Spokane investigators have stated their belief that Suckow killed Carlile at Henrikson’s request, likely over debts Henrikson said the former Moses Lake resident owed him.
Investigators have questioned several former business associates, friends and family members of Carlile, some of whom indicated in the weeks before his death Carlile became wary of Henrikson and said if anything happened to him, Henrikson was likely behind it.
Federal authorities are looking into claims Henrikson and his wife, Sarah Creveling, defrauded investors in oil and trucking companies he owned out of thousands of dollars. Last month, attorneys moved to seize and sell property the couple owned north of Watford City, N.D., where federal authorities found guns Henrikson was prohibited from owning due to prior felony convictions.
Suckow remains in custody of the Spokane County Jail on $2 million bond. He pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday.