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Witnesses lined up for upcoming Bakken murder-for-hire, missing body trial

BISMARCK -- The man who infamously put the Bakken in the news for schemes of murder and a missing body will go to trial Jan. 25 in Washington. James Henrikson, 36, will be tried for multiple felony counts of murder-for-hire, conspiracy and solici...

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James Henrikson

BISMARCK -- The man who infamously put the Bakken in the news for schemes of murder and a missing body will go to trial Jan. 25 in Washington.

James Henrikson, 36, will be tried for multiple felony counts of murder-for-hire, conspiracy and solicitation of murder while he was running an oil trucking company near Mandaree. He’s charged with hiring the murders of his employee, Kristopher Clarke, who was bludgeoned to death in the truck-yard shop and whose undiscovered body is buried somewhere in the Badlands, and the shooting death of Doug Carlisle, an investment partner, who was shot to death in his home in Spokane, Wash.

Clarke was killed in February 2012 and Carlile in December 2013; the case against Henrikson started to unravel when Tim Suckow was arrested for the shooting and later confessed to his role in the Clarke murder.

Henrikson was arrested in September of 2014 and is being held in Washington, where U.S. Attorneys have been working the case against Henrikson, Suckow and four other defendants who had various roles in the crimes. All of the other defendants, including Suckow, have pleaded guilty, but their sentencings have been delayed pending Henrikson’s trial, according to documents filed in the case. Henrikson had also pleaded guilty and then revoked his plea, setting the stage for this month’s trial.

Former Three Affiliated Tribes chairman Tex Hall is among witnesses scheduled to be called by the prosecution. Hall had a business agreement with Henrikson that allowed Henrikson to operate his trucking business on the reservation under Hall’s Maheshu Energy company, a relationship required for non-native businesses. Hall owns the truck-shop building where Clarke was murdered.

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Another prosecution witness is George Dennis, who was charged by North Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers for making false statements to federal agents and not disclosing knowledge of Henrikson’s crimes. Court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Bismarck say that Dennis helped Henrikson remove Clarke’s body from the Maheshu shop, helped bury it and destroy Clarke’s belongings. Dennis is scheduled for trial in Bismarck in June.

An unresolved aspect of the case is the whereabouts of Clarke’s body. Affidavits filed by the federal prosecutors say that Henrikson, with help from Dennis, buried him in the Badlands - apparently near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit - but that Henrikson later moved the body.

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