Bakken oil field murder-for-hire mastermind receives two life sentences

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The man accused of masterminding a murder-for-hire scheme that claimed two lives will serve consecutive life sentences in federal prison.

James Terry Henrikson was sentenced May 24 in U.S. District Court in Spokane, Wash. In February, a federal jury found Henrikson guilty of 10 counts of murder-for-hire and conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder-for-hire, as well as one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

The owner of several trucking companies that were heavily invested in oil operations in the Bakken oil patch, Henrikson was accused of arranging the murder of a former business partner, Doug Carlile in December 2013, and Kristopher “KC” Clarke, a former employee, in February 2012. Three of the men whom prosecutors named as co-conspirators in arranging and carrying out the contract killings pleaded guilty to related charges and testified during Henrikson’s trial.

Henrikson and the other men all worked together in various ventures in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch.

He and several of his indicted co-conspirators initially pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire and solicitation to commit murder-for-hire last September. Henrikson however, changed his plea and went to trial because he was not made aware of the mandatory minimum penalty of life imprisonment prior to entering his guilty plea.

According to KXLY News, Carlile’s widow and children spoke at the sentencing hearing, and asked for the maximum sentence against Henrikson. The news station reports that the defendant himself took the stand, where he reportedly went on a diatribe about abortion and the legalization of marijuana.

Per court records and accounts of the trial, Henrikson wanted to kill Carlile, an investor who refused to give up his stake in an oil lease and who allegedly owed Henrikson money. Carlile was shot multiple times at close range in his Spokane home. Clarke was killed because he planned to start a competing trucking company. According to court records, Clarke was beaten to death at his shop, but his body was never recovered.

One of the co-conspirators, Timothy Suckow, a man Henrikson hired to carry out the murders and paid $20,000, pleaded guilty in September 2015 to killing the two men. Another co-defendant, Robert Delao, pleaded guilty to helping to arrange Carlile’s murder by acting as a middleman between Henrikson and Suckow.

A third defendant, Lazaro Pesina, who was at Carlile’s house when he was killed, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, according to court records.

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