Murder of Doug Carlile organized by business partner James Henrikson: Plot investigated on A Time To Kill

Mugshot of James Henrikson
James Henrikson was given a life sentence for organizing the murder of Doug Carlile. Pic credit: Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office

A Time To Kill is in Spokane, Washington, to investigate a particularly complex case involving the murder of Doug Carlile, who was gunned down in his own home in a murder-for-hire plot.

Hitman Timothy Suckow murdered Carlile, but the police managed to untangle a web of criminality that eventually pointed to his business partner James Henrikson as the brains behind the crime.

On December 15, 2013, 63-year-old Doug and his wife, Elberta Carlile, came home from church to find a masked shooter in their kitchen. Elberta hid in a closet while the gunman fired several shots into her husband. He was killed almost instantly.

Luckily the Carlile’s neighbors had spotted a white van driven by a “bald white male with an athletic build” at the time of the crime. And a month later, the police found the van and identified the driver as Timothy Suckow.

The van had been one for work that Suckow only temporarily used. It didn’t throw up much evidence concerning the murder; however, a search of his personal vehicle revealed a lot more evidence to suggest he was the killer.

In his car, they found a check/to-do list of all the items Suckow thought he’d need to commit murder. He was subsequently arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

But why did Timothy Suckow murder Doug Carlile?

The one thing the police lacked was a motive, but in speaking to Carlile’s family, they learned that the victim had an ongoing feud with his business partner James Henrikson. They also learned that Carlile had been afraid of Henrikson to the point that he had borrowed a gun from his son.

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Carlile and Henrikson were both involved with an oil company in North Dakota that appeared to be on the cusp of bringing them immense profits; however, both men wanted the other out of the company. And it now appears that Henrikson was prepared to kill to get rid of Carlile.

An investigation into Henrikson found he was involved in many shady dealings and that he knew many individuals who operated in the Spokane criminal underworld. The police got a break when an informant told them of Henrikson’s link to two criminals named Robert Delao and Todd Bates.

Delao was considered to be Henrikson’s right-hand man and enforcer, someone who essentially dealt with people who got in his boss’s way.

The police also learned that Bates had been hired to “take care” of another business associate of Henrikson’s named Casey Clark. Clark was Henrikson’s operations manager who has been missing since February 2012.

The final link to Carlile’s murder came when the detectives discovered that Bates and Suckow knew each other. It then transpired that Henrikson had paid Suckow $20,000 to murder Carlile.

Henrikson was quickly arrested in his home in North Dakota and charged with the murders of both Doug Carlile and Casey Clark. In May 2016, he was convicted and given two life sentences.

Suckow pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. Delao and Bates were also given lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the murders of Carlile and Clark.

More from A Time To Kill

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on A Time To Kill.

When Karen Pannell tried to break up with boyfriend Timothy Permenter he reacted by stabbing her 16 times. He then tried to frame one of her ex-boyfriends.

Robert Denney stabbed his neighbor Corey Parker and incredible 101 times at her apartment in Jacksonville Beach, Fl., in 1998. The 17-year-old killer reportedly had a crush on his student neighbor.

A Time To Kill airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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