Details of a $20,000 bounty tied to the December killing of South Hill businessman Doug Carlile have brought more focus on suspect James Henrikson, the North Dakota oil speculator allegedly at the center of a murder-for-hire plot.
Police have not charged Henrikson in the case, though FBI agents have had him jailed for weeks on firearms violations as Spokane investigators build a case.
One of Henrikson’s former employees-turned-confidential-informant told investigators of the bounty to hurt Carlile, according to court records filed Thursday.
The man said the offer was extended to Spokane Valley resident Timothy Suckow via a text message. Suckow, 50, is charged with breaking into the South Hill home on Dec. 15 and killing Carlile while his wife hid in a bedroom closet.
The new details in the alleged murder-for-hire scheme were revealed in court documents filed following a hearing where Suckow pleaded not guilty to new criminal charges in the case.
Detectives interviewed the former Henrikson employee, who sought to “minimize their criminal involvement in the murder,” according to court documents. The employee said Henrikson had grown increasingly agitated with Carlile and often called him “the troll.” Henrikson told Spokane investigators by phone shortly after the murder Carlile owed him close to $2 million on oil land and trucking deals that had gone south.
The employee said he acted as an intermediary between Henrikson and Suckow.
Henrikson told the employee to reach out to Suckow in October to see if he would hurt Carlile, the employee said. Suckow agreed to do the job but said he needed two accomplices, according to the informant.
Eventually, the plan shifted from hurting Carlile to killing him, the employee told investigators. Suckow’s delay in killing Carlile angered Henrikson, the informant said, culminating in a flurry of texts and phone messages between the two the day of the shooting.
Investigators have confirmed through phone records that Henrikson and Suckow contacted each other the day Carlile was killed. The informant said Henrikson received a text in the early morning hours of Dec. 16 from Suckow that read, “Tell the boss to watch the news.”
Suckow pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges against him Thursday. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bond at the Spokane County Jail.