- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The trial of a North Dakota man accused of ordering the killing of a Spokane businessman has been moved to Richland.

A federal judge ordered the trial moved on Thursday because of extensive publicity about the murder-for-hire case in the Spokane area.

James Henrikson is charged with agreeing to pay Timothy Suckow $20,000 to kill Doug Carlile after a business partnership in the oilfields of North Dakota went bad. Carlile was shot to death in his upscale Spokane home in December 2013.

Suckow pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two criminal counts for his involvement in the slaying and accepted a plea deal calling for a 30-year prison sentence. He is expected to testify against Henrikson at trial.

The Spokesman-Review (https://bit.ly/1NI1mtR) reported Friday that attorneys for Henrikson argued that media coverage has been “ongoing and constant” since Carlile was killed and that a fair trial in Spokane was impossible.

U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. agreed, over objections from prosecutors who said the Carlile family would have difficulty attending a trial in another location.

“They want to be here in court for his trial,” said federal prosecutor Aine Ahmed.

Trial is set to begin Oct. 5 in federal court in Richland.

Henrikson attorney Mark Vovos said there had been over 650 stories about the case since Carlile’s slaying and estimated over a million people had read articles about the killing online. Many of those reports referred to Henrikson as the “mastermind” of the murder-for-hire scheme, he said.

Investigators also allege Henrikson ordered Suckow to kill Kristopher “K.C.” Clarke, an employee of Henrikson’s, in February 2012. Henrikson faces a total of 11 federal charges, some related to two other contract murders prosecutors say were planned but not carried out.

Ahmed argued that information in media reports has been factual and said statements accusing Henrikson of masterminding the murder-for-hire plot would be part of his opening arguments.

“That’s not prejudicial. The jury’s gonna hear it on the first day,” he said.

Mendoza denied a request by federal prosecutors to hold the trial in Spokane with a Richland jury, saying it would be too difficult to keep jurors sequestered and away from their families for the duration of the trial.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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