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Judge grants new attorney for N.D. man questioned in Spokane murder case

BISMARCK – A federal judge has granted a request for a new attorney by a Watford City man who faces felony weapons charges here and has been questioned in a suspected murder-for-hire case in Washington state.

James Terry Henrikson made the request earlier this month, claiming that his appointed federal public defender, William Schmidt, went against his wishes when he filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case.

In U.S. District Court here Monday, Henrikson told Judge Daniel Hovland that Schmidt is “more against me than the prosecutor” and that he has “no faith in him whatsoever.”

“From day one, basically, he’s told me that I’m guilty,” Henrikson said.

Schmidt categorically denied ever saying or suggesting to Henrikson that he was guilty, calling it “an absolute lie.” He said he informed Henrikson that people with prior felony convictions are banned from possessing firearms and that the initial discovery in the case suggested that firearms were found in a safe in the Watford City home where Henrikson lived.

Schmidt said he filed the motion to suppress because authorities who searched the home on Jan. 20 had to contact the safe’s manufacturer to get the combination – which Schmidt contends was beyond the scope of the search warrant – and because Henrikson’s fingerprints weren’t found on the guns.

Henrikson has argued that Schmidt’s actions interfered with his right to a speedy trial, which was originally slated for April 1 but was postponed after Schmidt filed the motion. Henrikson has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of felon in possession of a firearm and one count of felon in possession of ammunition.

Schmidt said he has concerns “that there may be a federal indictment charged in the state of Washington.”

Investigators have questioned Henrikson but haven’t charged him in the death of his estranged business partner, Doug Carlile, who was found shot by an armed intruder Dec. 15 in his Spokane, Wash., home.

Timothy Suckow is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in Carlile’s death, and investigators believe Henrikson hired Suckow to kill Carlile.

Henrikson told a detective that he and Carlile had an oil lease together and that Carlile owed him $1.88 million, court documents state. Henrikson said he was very angry with Carlile but denied threatening or killing him.

Hovland said he would appoint attorney Tom Tuntland of Mandan to represent Henrikson.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.