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Henrikson attorneys seek mistrial following revelation of police texts with witness

Attorneys for murder-for-hire suspect James Henrikson are asking for a mistrial after prosecutors revealed text messages between a Spokane police detective and an alleged co-conspirator for the first time last weekend.

“The last-minute disclosure of this information has placed the defense in an untenable position,” wrote Todd Maybrown, one of Henrikson’s attorneys, in the motion for a mistrial filed Monday.

Henrikson is accused of hiring a man to kill Spokane businessman Doug Carlile over a North Dakota oil field partnership that soured, along with employee Kristopher Clarke.

It’s not the first time Maybrown and colleague Mark Vovos have asked to restart the trial that began in Richland on Jan. 26.

Those efforts have so far failed. This latest request of U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza is scheduled for a ruling Tuesday morning.

Maybrown argues that Robert Delao, one of the accused co-conspirators in what investigators describe as Henrikson’s criminal enterprise, discussed cooperating with Spokane police Detective Mark Burbridge as early as January 2014. Those conversations were not reported to Henrikson’s defense in time for them to cross-examine Delao or Burbridge. The U.S. attorney’s office provided the texts Friday in an email to the defense team, more than a week after Delao left the witness stand.

Henrikson faces a potential life sentence if found guilty of murder-for-hire in the deaths of Carlile and Clarke.

Delao testified he relayed messages between Henrikson and Timothy Suckow, the man who pleaded guilty to bludgeoning Clarke in North Dakota in February 2012 and shooting Carlile in his South Hill home in December 2013.

Maybrown is asking for a mistrial, which would start the trial process over again. If a mistrial is not granted, Maybrown requested a continuance while defense attorneys investigate the texts between Burbridge and Delao.

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