3 plead guilty in murder-for-hire plot

SPOKANE, Wash. — Three men have pleaded guilty in federal court in the murder-for-hire slaying of a Spokane businessman that arose from business dealings in the North Dakota oil patch.

The case involved the shooting death of Doug Carlile in his upscale Spokane home nearly two years ago.

On Wednesday, Timothy Suckow, Robert Delao and Lazaro Pesina changed their pleas to guilty on various charges in the case. Suckow admitted to being the gunman who shot Carlile in December 2013.

Suckow, 51, listened to details of his crimes with his head in his hands.

“The truth must be told,” Suckow told U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza, moments before he pleaded guilty to performing murder-for-hire in the deaths of Carlile and Kristopher “K.C.” Clarke.

Prosecutors will recommend a 30-year prison sentence for Suckow, contingent upon providing testimony against James Henrikson and others.

“I was told by Mr. Henrikson, through (Robert) Delao, that Mr. Carlile was to be murdered for $20,000,” Suckow told the judge.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Suckow, Pesina and Delao will be sentenced on December 8.

Suckow told Mendoza “no one else was there” when he shot Carlile seven times in his home.

Prosecutors contend Henrikson was enraged that Carlile would not give up his shares in an oil lease on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota and owed him nearly $2 million.

He called on Suckow, according to a grand jury indictment and prosecutors, because the Spokane Valley resident had killed before, bludgeoning Clarke to death, prosecutors said. Suckow told investigators they buried Clarke’s body at a nearby state park, but the body has yet to be found, according to court records.

Henrikson, who is accused of masterminding the slayings, has asked that his trial be moved out of Spokane because of extensive publicity. He faces charges of ordering the killings of Carlile and Clarke, one of his former trucking company employees.

Prosecutors said Delao, who gave Suckow the order to kill Carlile via text message, pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of up to 17 years in prison.

Pesina, who was present outside the Carlile home for the shooting but said he didn’t realize it was going to end in murder, pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge. Prosecutors recommended a 12-year sentence.

The judge does not have to abide by the plea deals during sentencing, but if he opts for a different sentence, either party could pull out of the deal.

At the beginning of the day, it appeared only Henrikson would be seated at the defense table when the trial is scheduled to commence in Spokane on Oct. 5.

But Todd Bates, who is accused of discussing plots to kill four of Henrikson’s business rivals stemming from oil speculation in North Dakota, did not convince Mendoza that his guilty plea was willful. At a hearing Wednesday morning, Bates said he remembered discussing assault with Delao at the direction of Henrikson, not murder. He told Mendoza he was dyslexic.

A fifth defendant, Robby Wahrer, who is accused of driving Suckow and Pesina to the Carlile home, chose not to plead guilty after Bates was excused from the courtroom.

Henrikson was brought back to Spokane from the Yakima County Jail for the hearing. He was moved to Yakima last month following a suspected jailbreak attempt in Spokane.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Cars arrive at Juneau International Airport on Thursday, July 11, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau seems to have avoided major disruptions following global technology-related outage

911 centers, hospitals, airport, and public safety and emergency management agencies are operating.

Most Read