SEATTLE – The trial of an oil truck operator charged with orchestrating the killings of two business rivals competing for work in North Dakota’s giant Bakken oil patch was slated to begin in January after the man withdrew his guilty plea, his lawyer said on Thursday.
In a September plea agreement, James Henrikson admitted to an interstate murder-for-hire plot to kill Kristopher “KC” Clarke in February 2012 in North Dakota and Douglas Carlile in December 2013 in Spokane, Washington.
Henrikson withdrew the plea last month after a judge ruled he was not made aware of the mandatory minimum penalty of life imprisonment his crimes carried prior to entering the plea, court documents showed.
Henrikson has now pleaded not guilty, his attorney, Todd Maybrown, said. The trial was slated for Jan. 25 in Richland, Washington.
Henrikson faced murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, among other charges, in alleged plots against several people he viewed as an impediment to his enterprises, as well as conspiracy to distribute heroin, court documents said.
Three men accused of carrying out the contract killings pleaded guilty to a host of federal charges in September. They could face between 12 and 30 years in prison when they are sentenced.
Maybrown, Henrikson’s attorney, said the men have filed a motion to continue their sentencing hearings, which were previously scheduled for Friday, though he did not know when the court would set new sentencing dates for each.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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