tv Dateline MSNBC August 17, 2019 12:00am-2:00am PDT
thank you so very much for being here with us and good night from our nbc news headquarters in new york. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> i'm going to destroy you. the fear was terrible. i can't even describe it. it's a surreal thing. people thought i was dead. >> the attack sudden, savage. >> i saw a man standing there. >> i heard multiple shots. >> the wife, the only witness. >> the only thing i could see was his eyes. >> her story was concerning about a masked man, shooting her husband and leaving her alive. i'm worried, did she hire somebody? >> then a revelation. the dead man had a dangerous dream. >> ended up finding a lot of
people related to the oil business. >> i remember him telling us, i'm going to make millions of dollars. >> a big money venture oozing with outlaws. >> a violent individual, been to prison for robbery. 250 pounds of steroid, rock muscle. >> greed is what killed my dad. greed is what caused all of this. >> a thirst for oil, an lust for blood. >> a sociopath. >> what can happen in a quiet little prairie town until oil comes around. >> yeah. ♪ among the green and pleasant landscapes of american privilege is the rise of historic land called the south hill. it's been the home of spokane,
washington's elite, in their queen anne and craftsman's homes and not the sort of story we're about to tell. ambitious men, dark plots and dames. >> i asked him. am i just the dumb blonde who missed it? or did everyone miss it? >> the one so many people missed, before that dreadful vent here in the wooded enclave. >> he thought that god was blessing hem and my mom. >> we thought we were walking on water. >> here they were, empty nesters, all alone in their house on the south hill, convinced that their successes, their six grown kids, their good life were products of an unflinching trust in god. >> you know, we finally got out of the desert. and he was going to get into the promised land. >> yes, the promised land. riches beyond imagining.
as the not so dumb blonde knew so well. >> it was a madhouse, it was the wild west. >> so maybe that's why the thing on the south hill wasn't going to stay here. >> my life will never be the same. i'm sorry. >> it was wintertime when it happened. christmas season, 15th of december, 2013. a sunday evening after church. >> 911, what are you reporting? >> there's been shots. a man kicked into our house and shot my husband. >> this is how our story began. in an ugly splash of violence and terror. >> he's going to shoot me. >> but was this the beginning of the story? or the end? that was the evening spokane police detectives brian sesnick
and mark burbridge were pulled into the strangest case of their careers. >> it was the most unique homicide i'd investigated, and i knew that from the first moments of my involvement. >> really? just you knew? >> yes. >> it was sesnick who drove over first to the address at south hill. the sort of place a homicide detective can go a whole career without visiting a single time. >> the house is in a very upper-class neighborhood. >> and the south hill, that's where you want to be. >> right. the street that it's on, i'd never been to before. >> why would you as a homicide detective? >> there's just not crime up there in general. so it was very odd. >> the home the detective was going to was owned by a businessman named carlile. sesnick walked into the house. >> it was just a weird scene all in all. this was december 15th.
there's christmas music playing throughout the house. >> that's bizarre. >> it was very bizarre. they're very religious people, so there's religious scripture written on the walls. them you have this horribly violent and gruesome murder. it was a very, very odd scene. >> doug carlile was lying on the kitchen floor, clearly the victim of a close-range shooting. >> there was a lot of blood around the body. a lot of shell casings. a lot of bullets laying around. >> how badly was this person damaged? >> he'd been shot seven times. it was obviously a very brutal attack. it wasn't just a one time shot and the person ran out. >> clearly someone was making sure. >> correct. whoever had done this, we knew they wanted to make sure he didn't survive. >> and whatever happened here didn't appear to be the result of a burglary. the house was locked up tight. windows, doors.
>> he still had his wallet and cell phone. everything was in place. nothing was ransacked that we could find. >> it was elberta, doug's wife, who called 911 in what sounded like a state of abject terror. investigators found her hiding in an upstairs closet. they took her downtown. >> i want to see my husband. >> the detective was ready to sympathize, but something looked a little off. >> what did you make of her? >> she's unique in some of her responses, threw up red flags, made me concerned about whether she was involved in this or not. >> what kind of responses? >> she didn't care about the police investigation. all she cared about was her
husband, praying over him, she was upset that the patrol officers wouldn't let her do that. >> i want my husband! >> there's nothing we can do for your husband right now. >> well, i can hold him. i could have told him i loved him. i could have prayed for him. >> then when the investigator asked what happened elberta told a story, and neither the telling or the story made any sense at all. coming up -- >> i'm worried whether she had a motive. jealousy. >> the wife's tale raises questions and suspicions. >> rehearsed is a good word. >> that sounded that way to you? >> yes, it did. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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so he paid careful, experienced attention when elberta carlile told him what happened that sunday evening in the house on south hill. >> what happened tonight? >> we went to church. then we went to a church function. nothing, i don't know what happened, a nightmare. that's what happened. >> and elberta's story, said detective burbridge just didn't add up. >> all of a sudden i hear it's okay, it's okay. then i hear back off, back off, back off! then when i heard the back off, i saw, i looked and saw a man standing there in all black. >> her story was concerning about a masked man wearing all black, coming into the house and shooting her husband and leaving and leaving her alive. made me worry that maybe she hired a hit man or maybe she was making up the story and she was involved in what happened.
>> the thing was, the killer saw elberta. she came right out and said so. they stared at each other, soul to soul. so why would a hit man leave an eyewitness alive? unless she was in on it. >> i'm wondering whether she had a motive. money, jealousy, boyfriend, girlfriend. did she kill him herself? did she hire somebody? did she get one of the children to do it? these are all my concerns. >> besides, says burbridge, he's seen many people caught by sudden violence and grief, and elberta was agitated, certainly, but to his practiced eye, her emotional reaction was somehow flat as if practiced. it bothered him. >> how long had you been home? >> it happened instantly. when we got home, it was like somebody ambushed him. >> the way she told her story about a masked man killing her husband of 42 years. >> it almost seemed like it was rehearsed or like she thought
about this and what could i say? >> rehearsed is a good word. >> it sounded that way to you? >> yes, it did. >> but you don't have to take it from the detective. we were able to arrange an interview with elberta, too. >> my whole life was over as i knew it. >> elberta said with she and her husband returned from church that evening they drove through the gate of their property as usual. >> i'll get the gate, you get the door. >> did anything look unusual? >> no, it just didn't feel right. i got all the way to the top of the stairs and i started down the hall when i heard muffled voices. headed right down the stairs, i got back to the bottom of the stairs and i called out to doug, "doug, is somebody here"? and i looked to my left. the man was standing right in front of the doorway. >> how far away from you? >> ten feet at the most. nine feet.
and i looked at him. and it was a man. all in black. and he had a mask on. and he had a gun pointed where i knew my husband was standing. >> you couldn't see doug. >> i couldn't see doug. i only saw this man in black. he a mask on. only thing i could see was his eyes. and he looked at me. he never moved the gun. and he blinked three times, and i thought, why is he blinking at me? >> why is that guy in my house holding a gun? >> i thought oh, my god, he's going to kill me. i tried to go up the stairs. my legs weren't working and i started going up the hall when i heard multiple shots. >> did you realize right away what must have happened? >> oh, absolutely. i knew my husband must have been shot. so i thought i have to hide. >> she ran to a closet and shut
the door and called 911. >> stay on the line for me, okay? >> oh, my god. oh, god hurry. i'm hiding in the closet. >> i want you to stay on the line. >> do you remember what it felt like in there, what you felt like? >> oh, sheer desperation. just sheer desperation. and this overwhelming need to go to my husband. i wanted to go to him. i wanted to comfort him. i wanted to tell him i loved him. i wanted to tell him, it's going to be okay. i wanted to pray for him. >> oh, please hurry. please. >> when the police arrived, they found elberta in the closet. >> i want to go to my husband. they said they're working on him. and i said no, i want to go see
him, please let me go to my husband. and they said no, you can't go down there. >> did you ever get to see him that night? >> no. no. >> now elberta found herself face-to-face with detective burbridge, trying to get limb to believe a story about a masked killer who stared right at her and yet left her alive to tell the tale. that sounds a little made up almost. >> yes, it does. sounds hollywood. >> have you ever heard of a case of someone laying eyes on a witness, someone killing someone and remaining alive? >> but there was something in elberta's story that did make sense. before the murder as she and doug drove to church they saw something out of place. >> there was a van kind of sitting up against the curb. a white van. >> like it didn't belong there
or something? >> yeah. >> a white van. as police canvassed the neighborhood after the murder, a witness across the street said she saw it too. >> she had come home around 5:00 that evening and noticed a white van parked in front of her house. and it was parked in a way that made her nervous. to the point she thought maybe someone was breaking in. >> why would she be suspicion of a van? >> a van she'd never seen before, in that neighborhood, everyone knows everyone. >> the question was, what did the white van have to do with the murder of doug carlile, or they wondered, his wife elberta. coming up, a neighborhood security camera. what tales would it tell? >> we actually saw that suspect and the path that he ran. >> could you tell who it was? >> it was a suspect appearing to be muscular built wearing all black. >> when "dateline" continues. .
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about a man in black bursting into the house killing her husband, looking her square in the eye but leaving her alive. no, burbridge wondered, did she hire him? >> in my world, wives kill husbands. >> but then they heard a curious story from a neighbor. that very evening for a couple hours before the shooting a mysterious white van was parked just across the street from the carliles' house. >> 911, what are you reporting? >> now they just came back and are sitting there. and i'm really freaked out. >> of course, in many if not most neighborhoods in america, a parked white van might not attract a bit of attention. >> maybe it's paranoid, but it's
bizarre that it's in this neighborhood. >> this is the south hill after all. nondescript white vans don't just show up here. and the neighbor noticed and doug carlile ends up murdered. >> we didn't know if it was related or not, but it was something we considered immediately. >> and again, this being the south hill, another neighbor had the wherewithal to provide a special kind of help. >> a homeowner had a video camera that covered his driveway and we picked up the van two hours before the murder. >> here is the video, and sure enough, a white van coming and going on the streets of south hill that night, but did it have anything to do with the murder? and what about the man in black elberta said she saw? if he actually existed. a hired killer or whatever, he must have waited somewhere around the house for the carliles to get back from church. he could have killed doug carlile, then possibly escaped in the white van. no one saw anyone going out the
front door, but what about back here? behind the house? they called in a tracking dog and stood back and watched. >> basically, the track went through some arbor vitae. and there was a puddle of water and a good foot print. and it was apparent it was fairly recent. >> could be your guy. >> could be our guy. just beyond that, outside the gate was what appeared to be a welding glove lying in the leaves. >> a welding glove? >> a welding glove. we thought is this something that may have been dropped? but it was odd enough and in a
place we knew the suspect had run after the incident that we ended up collecting it as evidence. >> not really knowing whether that had anything to do with your murder. >> correct. we didn't know. you know, in something like this, where it's a complete whodunit, you take everything and hope something ends up helping your case. >> they kept looking. so did the dog. just beyond where the welding glove was found was a small wooded area, and across the street, an elementary school where maybe the school security system could give them a picture of the guy. >> another detective was able to get that video, almost immediately. >> and sure enough, when they looked at the video, there he was. >> we actually saw that suspect and saw the path that he ran. >> could you tell who it was or very much about him? >> it was very grainy video. all you could see was that it was a subject, appeared to be muscular build wearing all black. >> all black. it was hard to make out, but there he was in the video. the elusive man in black running toward a main road. when detective burbridge arrived and got a look at this -- >> i've done a lot of homicides
and at that point thought it was a professional hit man, probably unrelated to our victim at all or the person involved in this, and i went and found my lieutenant. i knew this was going to be a very complicated investigation and we needed a lot more manpower to get very fast on the case further down the road. >> and so in a matter of hours, detectives were called in from all over the department, time off was canceled. so many questions to answer. what else did the neighbors see? what did that welding glove have to do with anything? and who was the man in black? and a more basic question. was elberta carlile involved in a plot to kill her husband? >> coming up -- >> the closer i got to the lord,'s like the further we got apart. >> even elberta admits their marriage had seen its share of trouble. >> i did something drastic and left him without his knowledge. >> take the kids with you? >> of course. >> when "dateline" continues.
as police combed the south hill looking for suspects in the murder of doug carlile, his wife had no idea that her demeanor had raised alarm. but police 101. the victim's nearest and dearest often become suspect number one. and elberta, with her wild story, was no exception. then detective burbridge was able to get a close look at the evidence, especially that video of the running man in black. >> it became apparent that whoever did this spent time planning it, made me concerned that elberta was probably telling the truth. >> when he saw all that planning including the videotape showing the man in black he felt it was
far less likely that elberta carlile was anything but a victim. but in her brain, when detectives kept going over this and that, two thoughts blocked out everything else, a need to see her husband and a need to tell her children what happened. >> i went to call them and i couldn't see the numbers. i went to the police and said help me, wait, you can't help me, you don't know who i'm looking for. >> the phone rang at the home of shawn carlile. >> i went to call them and i couldn't see the numbers. i went to the police and said help me, wait, you can't help me, you don't know who i'm looking for. >> the phone rang at the home of shawn carlile. >> we were hanging ornaments on the christmas tree. she said in just kind of a
screaming panic, shane, your dad, your dad, he was shot six times. >> you called everybody? >> yeah. the thought hadn't even sunk in yet we just started contacting everybody and had to listen to everybody's cries and screams over the phone. >> he goes dad's been shot. and i said what do you mean dad's been shot? dad has been killed. >> and so she greeted her daughters after the recital with the news about grandpa. >> they loved their grand pa. he was the greatest to all three of them. >> it was a relationship that
almost wasn't for any of them. >> doug and bertie, as he liked to call her, were teenaged sweet heart, married young. and as often happens, even as their family grew their marriage shrivelled. what happened? >> life happens. >> bertie found god. doug did not. >> the closer i got to the lord, it's like the further we got apart. >> until it became clear to bertie she won't go into detail, that she and doug were doomed, unless -- >> i did something drastic. i left him without his knowledge. >> take the kids with you? >> of course. >> so you went off on your own with four kids. >> mm-hm. no job, no nothing. yeah. to a city i didn't know.
>> to seattle. 350 miles in the little town in oregon where they lived back then. her church kept her going. well, doug, here's the story according to bertie. he kept guns, said bertie, lots of them. and lost and alone, he decided to use one on himself. >> as he crawled toward the guns, he said he heard this horrid voice that said "he's mine". and then he heard another voice that said "no, he's not. he belongs to me". and he said it was a thunderous, authoritative, shook the whole room voice. and next thing he knew, he felt arms picking him up. and putting him on the bed. >> he told you this. >> yes, he told me this months later. >> quite a story. the one that got doug saved and back with his family. after that, he started an excavation business, and as his kids grew up, six of them. many followed him and became the family business. >> he's a salesman, you know. he can talk you into something. >> a charmer. >> yeah.
totally. total charmer. >> what was his business philosophy? was he a numbers-crunching guy or a handshake guy? >> he was a hand shake guy. he expected his word and a hand shake was good. and he knew it was. he expected that of others and that isn't always true. >> and there were setbacks. two bankruptcies. trouble with the irs and falling out with business partners who accused doug of being less than honest and of not paying his bills. how would doug react to those? >> he never gave up. and we always took care of what we owed. and we would move forward. >> and, as he entered mid-life. doug carlile seemed content doing deals while his sons shane and seth ran the business. >> he'd give the shirt off his back to anybody. he had a huge heart. enough room in it for everybody. huge heart. >> and taught you what you know. >> absolutely. every aspect of business. every aspect of life.
>> when the kids were grown, doug and bertie ended up in spokane to be next to their church whose pastor preached the prosperity gospel, that god rewards belief with success. >> they wanted to get an older house like that. it's something they love, but they also always wanted all the family to come for all the holidays and stay with them. >> so there's a bedroom for everybody. >> we all had our own room. worked out pretty good. >> did it look to you as if your dad and your mom were finally at the place where they were on the top of the hill? >> they were doing the best i ever saw them do. they were happy. they had got it. they'd figured it out. >> but now, doug carlile was dead. and detectives tallied up the signs of his earthly wealth. still parked in the drive, elberta's new mercedes. doug's new pickup and inside doug's office, documents detailing the family's fortune.
>> there was a lot of financial paperwork. and the ones that struck me immediately was there was loan paperwork that had appeared mr. carlile had filled out for different businesses and they had his net value at between $6 million and is $12 million, depending on which piece of paper you looked at. >> and then there were the documents the detectives couldn't read. that is the ones written in arabic. who was doug carlile? successful, god-fearing businessman? or what? >> coming up. >> i remember him telling us, you know, i'm going to make millions of dollars, and that is going to be it. this is going to be for our family. we're all going to be rich. >> investigators took a hard look at doug's business practices, did he make any enemies?
they may have a reason to be angry at him. >> our suspect list kept growing. >> i was running this in about eight directions, trying to eliminate a lot of business partners. >> a surprise. >> i don't believe in coincidences like that. >> when "dateline" continues. depend® fit-flex underwear features maximum absorbency, ultra soft fabric and new beautiful designs for your best comfort and protection guaranteed. life's better when you're in it. be there with depend®. i'm and i'm an emt.erer when i get a migraine at work, it's debilitating. if i call out with a migraine, that's one less ambulance to serve a community. i just don't want to let these people down. excedrin migraine. relief that works as hard as you do.
surveillance videos showing a white van circling the area. elberta's story about a masked shooter dressed in black. the video of a black-clad man running away. all that could mean one thing. this was a hit, a professional killing. which begged the question, why would anyone want to kill a beloved, god fearing grandfather, murdered while christmas music surrounded his big old house. >> it was almost a surreal scene. >> documents half in english, half in arabic. and those they could read were very interesting indeed. >> there was prefilled out paperwork promising 100% return on investment in 90 days if you'd invest in their company. >> so it seemed your victim was promising huge returns on investment. >> correct. he had a whole binder of names of people who have bought into this and invested. >> wait a minute, who offers a 100% return so fast? was this for real? the names and reports all seemed to be related to one thing. >> we found a lot of paperwork
related to the oil business in north dakota. >> the oil business? why that? doug carlile, remember, was an excavator, not an oil man. but, of course a whole army of ambitious, hard-working men had established careers to grab a piece of the wealth by north dakota's oil-fracking boom. thus, were prairie towns on steroids and men bursting with pent-up testosterone. the wild black gold rush around the bakken airfields had peaked. but investors looking for a big payday wouldn't have known that yet. and with eager cash, they chased a stake in what they hope were billions still in the ground. apparently, doug carlile was one thus, were prairie towns on steroids and men bursting with pent-up testosterone. the wild black gold rush around the bakken airfields had peaked. but investors looking for a big payday wouldn't have known that
yet. and with eager cash, they chased a stake in what they hope were billions still in the ground. apparently, doug carlile was one of them. according to family, he got turned onto oil by a friend who knew a guy. >> he told us about north dakota. hey, it's booming there. you should go check things out and see what's happening. >> first, doug partnered in a trucking company that served north dakota's many oil rigs. black stone, started by the guy his friend introduced him to. then opportunity knocked. one of those opportunities of a lifetime, ordained from above, according to doug. >> the whole thing kind of fell into his lap. and i think he felt like that was his calling from god to move forward in that lease. >> an oil lease that is. a lease that would give doug and any partners he could bring in, the exclusive right to drill for oil on 640 acres of land on the mha indian reservation. but that opportunity doesn't come cheap. so you had to raise some money. >> yes, he had to raise $2 million.
>> he tapped his business partners and kids. >> i put $100,000 in it. it wasn't for a return or anything. it was to help him with his dream to fulfill that. >> but the next step to fulfilling doug's dream was even more daunting. finding investors to pay for drilling as many as eight wells on the property and that price was more steep, more than $100 million. >> but the next step to fulfilling doug's dream was even more daunting. finding investors to pay for drilling as many as eight wells on the property and that price was more steep, more than $100 million. but the potential payoff was immense. and doug firmly believed, god's will, a reward for his faith. >> we thought we were walking on water. this is a miracle. >> i remember him telling us we're going to make millions of dollars, this is for the family. we're all going to be rich. >> he sat on the couch and said what would you do if you had all the money you could ever want? if we had this money, we would
use it to serve the lord, to serve ministries, to serve people, our family. >> but now all those good intentions, all those dreams were gone. now detectives slogged through the paperwork on doug carlile's desk. those documents in arabic turned out to be a scam a con man was trying to run on doug. but doug you could see had been making promises, too, to investors. promises he couldn't keep and he must have known it. 100% return practically overnight? impossible. >> many of these were partners who had come in, and now he may have owed them a tremendous amount of money. >> correct. >> they may have a reason to be pretty mad at him. >> and our suspect list kept growing. >> how many partners did that guy have anyway? >> about ten that we could find, there may be more.
>> detective burbridge began calling doug's partners and discovered most of them lived in or around washington. anyone of them who could be considered a person of interest was hundreds or thousands of miles away from spokane the night he was murdered. >> i don't believe in coincidences like that. >> coincidences that they were not there? >> yes, sir. >> that they may have planned not to be there when something happened? >> yes, sir. >> how did you know which one to target? >> i was running this investigation in about eight different directions trying to eliminate a lot of business partners, trying to see if he had a secret life. he had a lot of failed business dealings in his other businesses. so i had a lot of concerns. >> angry ex-business partners? angry current business partners? what, if anything did she have to do with it? >> yeah. i mean, obviously, i didn't know at the time what he was doing. >> coming up -- detectives learn about a charismatic couple
knee-deep in doug's oil venture. >> they looked like ken and barbie, their perfectly white teeth and tans. >> did they know anything about the murder? and then finally, investigators have someone to question. >> i researched his criminal history and knew he had a very significant criminal history. i was concerned, was he my hit man? >> we're going to start talking about some things honestly here. >> when "dateline" continues. nooooo... nooooo... nooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand. [son loudly clears throat] sigh [mom and dad laugh] bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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hoped would create wealth, security, happiness had brought instead nothing but grief. but, remember, this, the evidence suggested, was a hit job. somebody must have ordered doug's execution. so now the detectives try to figure out who. >> did he have any disputes with anybody? >> yes. >> inevitable probably, when high stakes investors go after a prize, an oil lease, and doug had been promising potential investors returns that so far just hadn't materialized. any number of partners might have felt they'd been taken for a ride. but who? and elberta who was no longer a suspect offered a possibility. >> who did he have a dispute with? >> his name is james henrikson. >> james henrikson. he was the plan who had gotten doug interested in the oil play in the first place.
the man with his wife sarah were known as the barbie and ken of the oil patch. this guy worked for them. his name is rick airy. >> they stuck out like a couple of turds in a punch bowl. >> she was a barista. >> what was he like? >> he was calm, cool, collected, older man, good-looking. he was fun. we'd always go out. we would go out. it was easy. i never thought i'd marry him or go to business with him. >> but that's what she did. they moved to the oil patch in 2011, got married in minot, north dakota, and by 2013, he was the charismatic face of a major trucking operation called blackstone, and she was the blond on his arm and the senior company official. sarah signed the checks. blackstone was the business doug first invested in, before he got interested in the oil lease. it was a big operation.
100 trucks hauling water to and from oil fracking sites. very profitable. james let it be known that he was backed by a billion dollar trust fund. >> i was like, their guy's a winner. >> a lot of money around. were they making money? >> yes, it sure seemed like it. >> and james was buff, all man. >> it's 20 degrees outside and he'd be wearing a tee shirt. he wants you to see his guns. he's showing them off. they're perfectly white teeth and tans. they looked like ken and barbie. they didn't fit in at all. >> not a nickname sarah took to, mind you. >> no, i feel like i have somewhat of a brain, i don't want to be called just a barbie. >> you're living in a town of
men. >> 92-1. >> all jacked up on testosterone. >> yeah, it was miserable. every day was a plan on how to get out. >> with him? >> yeah, we wanted to leave the oil field, but he just saw so much opportunity and money. he was like one day we'll get there. >> doug carlile liked james and sarah's entrepreneurial style a lot. so when the chance to buy an oil lease came up they went in on it together. james kicked in $600,000. doug only $40,000. they needed $2 million, remember. yet, doug was saying he'd be taking over. there were disputes, then, over control and money and
accusations flew. the facts doug's son said. >> he basically said i'm concerned with what james is going to try to do. >> that was serious. >> and he said that if anything happens to me, you know, it's james henrikson. >> but, like the other partners, james henrikson was far away when doug was killed, 700 miles away in wofford city, north dakota. detectives pinged his phone and confirmed it. and then something happened that seemed straight out of some detective novel. detective burbridge put out a plea for information from anybody who'd done business with doug carlile, and what do you know? in walked a guy who could have just as easily been a murder suspect himself. >> robert, thanks for coming down voluntarily. >> his name was robert delao. sometimes a police informant. he'd served time on drug and weapons charges. >> i knew he had a very significant criminal history.
i was concerned, was he my hit man or what was his involvement in this >> he knew doug carlile and james henrikson. why was he here? to tell the cops just in case they were wondering, that he didn't have anything to do with the murder. >> did you drive somebody up there? >> no, no, no, i had nothing to do with it, nothing. >> but burbridge had seen a thing or two. he pushed. >> we're going to start talking about some things honestly. and i'm going to have a heart to heart with you. >> okay. that's fine, that's fine. >> people tell me you are the shooter. >> i say hell no. you know that night i was in wofford city, north dakota. >> you went after him pretty hard, accused him of murder? >> i did. >> how did he respond to that? >> he denied it and didn't even flinch. >> did you think he was your guy? >> i did not think he was the guy. >> why did you do that? >> sometimes you do things, put them under pressure to see their reaction. and he did not flinch. >> the detectives asked delao to take a polygraph, and he did. did he pass the test? >> yes, he did. >> so curious, certainly, but a real lead? or a dead end? hard to know. so burbridge and his team of investigators kept working other leads.
and christmas happened. sort of. >> it was really a rough christmas. i look back on pictures. we had smiles on our faces but you weren't really smiling. and my mom, it was so hard to watch her. she wanted to give the grandkids gifts but she was almost like a zombie. you can't not have christmas, you know, but nobody felt like it. >> but grief wasn't all the family was feeling. the debilitating fear took hold, too. whoever killed their patriarch might not be done. >> we armed ourselves. i spent about $10,000 on a security camera system around the house. went out and bought an attack dog, german shepherd. >> meanwhile detectives hit the road and that's when they discovered something truly shocking. doug carlile wasn't the only victim of the weird goings on around the oil patch. coming up. for this investigator, a tantalizing tip at his finger tips.
>> i clicked on it and a flyer came up that basically said beware of these two people. >> and then a potential suspect gives cops the crush off. >> he leaned over and slapped me on the shoulder and shut the door. >> when "dateline" continues. so nice to meet you june, jay, ji, kay, raj, and... ray! good job, brain! say hello to neuriva, a new brain supplement with clinically proven ingredients that fuel five indicators of brain performance. neuriva. [ soft piano music playing ] mm, uh, what do you do for fun? -not this. ♪ -oh, what am i into? mostly progressive's name your price tool. helps people find coverage options based on their budget. flo has it, i want it, it's a whole thing, and she's right there. -yeah, she's my ride. this date's lame. he has pics of you on his phone.
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spokane police detective mark burbridge called in the troops. a few hours after the execution-style killing of doug carlile on south hill, it was all too clear this had to have been a professional hit. burbridge would need all the help he could get. and now every available investigator, nearly 20 of them, chased the scattered clues. did you actually need them all? >> yes, i kept them busy. one investigator, his whole job was to try to identify the white van. >> remember that white van the
neighbors saw? >> it was unique enough. it was an after-factory extended van that they make for specific professions. once we were able to identify the make and model we had washington provide us with all the vans registered in spokane county, and there were 75 of them. >> which possibly fit that description. >> yes. >> every one of those vans had to be tracked down. and that welding glove, the one found outside a back gate, maybe the killer dropped it as he escaped or maybe it happened to be there. they swabbed it for dna anyway. they scoured social media, the internet, looking for connections, looking for anything. and then one night after christmas, a couple weeks after the murder. >> i was at my desk. i got a hit on what's called a ripoff report which i'd never heard of. and i clicked on it and a flyer came up that said beware of these people. >> what do you know, the ken and
barbie of the oil field. >> it said they're known frauds. they're running fraud scams in north dakota. don't do any business. >> grievances were rife around that oil project in which doug and james and others were involved. the ripoff report was put out as a flyer in stores and businesses all around the oil patch. it was pay back, apparently. by one particularly disgruntled former partner. but then not everything was a boy scouts. james for example had a criminal record going back to his teens. anyway, whether detective sesnick read the flyer, his islanded on the very curious detail. one of james' employees, a man named casey clark had up and disappeared. >> i printed it off and handed it to mark and said hey, what do
you think about this? >> what did you think about that? >> it was the first time weed every heard of that name. >> so who was casey clark? >> he was funny, well-mannered. >> didn't take long to find out. casey was an old friend of james henrikson. he moved to the oil patch specifically to work for henrikson at blackstone, james' trucking company. rick airy knew him well. what did you do >> we'd go up to the bar and chase girls, do the normal things guys do during the boom. >> rick and casey were field superintendents for the trucking company. >> i worked with the accountant, to make sure think got signed off to make sure they got paid and i was sort of the middleman for the paperwork. >> were you a minor partner. >> it was the james show for sure. people saw me all the time. >> time off was rare. and eventually, rick airy and
casey made secret plans to work for a rival trucking company. >> he was extremely worried about james finding out about their whole transition. >> on february 22nd, 2012, casey dropped briefly into black stone's headquarters and then was gone. so, did he leave in a huff? or was it something else? because nobody ever saw him again. >> no sign of him at all. he'd been missing for a year. >> had he been questioned about it. >> he took a polygraph with north dakota law enforcement. >> and had passed. >> yes. >> still, james henrikson had to know something about casey clark and doug carlile. and so the two detectives got in the car and drove 700 miles to wolford city, north dakota. >> with the wind chill, i believe it was 60 below when we were there. >> their destination, the home of james henrikson and his sarah.
>> we went to the side door. and in the garage was a two year old bentley, flat tires, laying on its belly. >> an almost new bentley. >> yes. >> obviously not taken care of at all. >> no. >> sarah answered the door, very pleasant said detectives, and went to get james. how did james henrikson greet you? did he tell you a story, sit you down for a cup of tea? what. >> he leaned out the door, slapped my on the shoulder and said too bad you drove all that way, my attorney told me not to talk to you and he shut the door. >> and you got nothing. >> got nothing. >> except for a rude reception which might have told you something? >> he was a big man, 5'10", 250 pounds of steroid muscle. but i don't intimidate and grew werewolf fans when he reached out and tried to belittle me. >> nothing to do but suck it up
and drive those 700 miles back home empty handed. in the meantime, sesnick got a blood clot that nearly killed him. a month after the murder they had suspects, oh, yes, but nothing was coming together. >> coming up, finally, a clue, and it's a big one. >> the i have top of the paper is the word glove. and there's she'll get away route on google earth. what killer makes a to-do list? jackpot. >> jackpot. g) hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem...
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well, they knew they had something but what exactly? >> it was just one of those cases where we knew we were on the right track, but we also knew that there was a lot of work left. >> and for the carliles, a lot of grief. elberta was a barely-functioning mess. >> i didn't lose just my dad. i lost my mom, too. because she wasn't the same person for a really long time. >> and adding insult, doug's secrets were exposed for the whole world to see. that big house on the south hill, heavily mortgaged. the fancy cars not paid for. the paperwork that claimed he was worth millions, a facade. doug carlile was flat broke. hadn't even bought life insurance. >> do you ever feel angry at all at doug for not providing more for like a insurance policy or something? >> no, not at all. because he was a very good provider every day he was alive.
and i didn't believe in insurance policies like that. i believed in trusting the lord for our finances, and that's what we did. >> secrets, just another casualties, as the little army of detectives searched the neighborhood for clues, like for example the strange find that turned up in the killer's escape path. that weirdly out of place welding glove. they swabbed it for dna on the odd chance that something in or on that glove might match dna on a felon stored in a storage bank. and it did. timothy suckow. >> what did you think when you found this out? >> i thought this could be our guy. >> was he local? >> he was local. >> he was working at irs environmental, an asbestos removal company. >> they don't drive around in
white vans by any chance? >> i checked that list, and lo and behold, they owned a vehicle that matched our vehicle in the video. >> well, well, well, what were the chances. timothy suckow must have been the man in black in this video, running for dear life toward the equally mysterious white van. they looked him up. he lived in the suburbs. a wife, kids, his house was ten miles from the murder scene. >> we had the s.w.a.t. team waiting because we didn't want to take him at his house. potential of firearms. >> but when suckow and another man left the house police moved in. police photographed suckow's many tattoos. >> mr. suckow is a hardened individual, very large man, 275 pounds of solid muscle. >> the interview began,
detectives made no bones about it. they thought they had suckow dead to rights. >> today is the day to help yourself out. i didn't come to you by accident, okay? my killer left something up at the house, and your dna is all over it. no joke. the van at your work that you drive is on my video up there. >> you're scaring me now. >> you should be scared. you're looking at federal conspiracies to commit murder, fraud, life in prison. >> [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. >> yeah. [ inaudible ] >> that's your choice. >> these are serious accusations. >> at this point, we're probably beyond accusations. you are under arrest. and you can help yourself out. [ inaudible ] >> i'm not kidding you about
having your dna. >> i'm not kidding you either, man. >> i have your dna up there, man. >> [ bleep ]. >> timothy suckow was done talking. and -- >> he just looked me in the eye, laid his head down and went to sleep. >> seriously? >> seriously. >> they rounded up search warrants for suckow's house and car. >> in his car we found a very significant piece of evidence. >> what was that? >> a piece of notebook paper with a list of items to be done. at the very top of the paper is the word glove with a question mark. and there's statements about wheel man and wing man. show get away route on google earth, practice with pistol. >> that's almost like a confession on a notebook. what killer makes a to-do list? >> it was a to-do list on how to do a murder. >> what did you think when you saw that. >> it was almost hollywood like. >> it was a month after the
murder and we arrest what we think is the shooter and he has a to-do kill list in his car. you can't make this stuff up. >> suckow also had a storage unit. where? a surveillance camera picked up a white van pulling up soon after the murder. suckow had to be their shooter. question was, who put him up to it? and why? suckow wouldn't tell them. refused to say a word. so then they got a search warrant for his phone. >> his contact list said james in nd. >> jackpot. >> jackpot. that is what the first time we had ever connected him with henrikson. >> james and sarah arrived to become the ken and barbie of the oil patch and before long one man is missing and another dead and the suspected hit man has james on speed dial. and as for sarah, there was a shock in store for her too.
>> emotionally you have a lot to deal with. >> oh, absolutely. it's ruined my life. >> coming up. sarah becomes suspicious about her husband. >> did you think at the time, i wonder if james had something to do with this? >> it seemed fishy to me. >> then she gets a call from the sheriff. >> he said you need to come to my office right this second. >> when "dateline" continues.. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from anyone else.
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times the best detective's name is luck. a drop glove led to timothy suckow, whose phone had the number of a man who may have ordered the murder. they had been ordered to rule out all of doug's business partners in washington state. >> i thought we had a pretty good idea of what had actually been going on, but it turned out to be a lot more. >> a sentiment, which, as the investigation turned rapidly back to north dakota, sarah, a-k-a mrs. james henrikson could have put in the same words but for more personal reasons. >> best i remember is there was rumors of james having an affair. >> it's an old story, of course. husband cheats on wife with a
younger woman. even younger than sarah, who was only in her 20s. >> what was it like to hear that he was cheating on you in the first place? >> it was hurtful, but it was so off the wall. i just didn't believe it. >> like generations of wives before her, until the truth was impossible to avoid. what was that like to hear? >> horrific. especially when i found out with who. i just thought absolutely not. no way. >> wouldn't believe it. >> wouldn't believe it. she was like my little sister. >> this is her. the young woman in the unpleasant little triangle. but she wasn't just some other woman. this is peyton martin, daughter of tex hall, the chief of the mha nation on whose tribal land was the oil lease, the one james and doug carlile wanted so badly. peyton was 19. >> you knew her. >> mm-hm. yeah.
i had a vacation, family vacation with her. >> in fact, here they are in hawaii. james in the water. sarah there on the paddleboard and there on another board was peyton. >> i think i found a picture of her on facebook where she was pregnant. and so i called her and asked her. and she said it's none of my business, but if it's my husband's then get over it. mm-hm. >> peyton denied saying that, by the way. but when the baby was born, a very healthy and happy-looking little boy. james and peyton named him -- >> bentley, of all things. >> bentley. just like that expensive automobile james bought for sarah, then left in the garage with flattened tires. >> you can't make it up. >> it's weird. it's so strange. >> bentley. >> yeah. as you can see, he was the one who wanted the car and the name and the show.
>> chief tex hall, as you might imagine was not pleased about any of that. he banished james from the reservation. but there was something neither tex nor sarah knew just then. not just that the spokane cops were investigating sarah's wayward husband. out on the north dakota prairie, another lawman had been poking around for more than a year. homeland security agent derrick truedell had heard from a colleague about the missing casey clark and the ripoff report and other possible crimes. >> he told me the story, and it sounded unbelievable is what it did. >> eric truedell was hooked. so by the time burbridge started showing up, he could tell them a thing or two about james henrikson. describe him. >> he comes across as just -- >> you're at a loss for words. >> he comes across as a used car salesman, but that's not fair to used car sales men. the guy is just, he's a scumbag.
>> he had been on james' trail for more than a year, looking for possible illegal drug imports and the mysterious disappearance of casey clark. it began to look like henrikson was behaving like some latter day wild west outlaw. >> he's a sociopath and a coward. and he didn't get his hands dirty in any of it. >> truedell already suspected henrikson may have ordered someone to kill casey clark. then doug carlile was murdered in washington and he began working with burbridge. if suckow killed carlile, could he have killed casey clark as well? >> they checked mr. suckow's number at the time against the phone records they acquired back when mr. clark disappeared and
his number was in those records. >> sarah meanwhile had begun to harbor suspicions about james and not just his cheatin' ways. it went back to the day james told her about doug carlile's death. >> he just walked into the room and was like, doug's dead, straight-faced, nothing. it was the strangest thing ever. >> did you think at the time, i wonder if james had something to do with this? >> it seemed fishy, it did. but again, your life's already crumbling. you don't want to think that your husband could be doing anything like that. >> why didn't you get out of that marriage? >> i was scared of him. so. everyone wants the fairy tale. everyone wants to be married with a life and kids and it came
crashing quickly. >> so finally, sarah started talking about divorce. >> i told him and he'd be like, how are you going to feel if you divorce me and find out all this isn't true and the kid's not mine. you'll be a horrible person and i'm going to destroy you and he was very threatening. >> was he serious? a month after the murder of doug carlile, january 2014, sarah got a call from her local sheriff. >> he said you need to come to my office right this second. >> coming up. sarah gets some frightening news. >> homeland security was waiting for me. and they were like, your husband is trying to have you killed today. >> what was that moment like for you? >> doesn't seem real. it's like a movie. >> when "dateline" continues.
sarah didn't know which way to turn. with investigators in two states closing in, her husband, james had vanished. their marriage was on life support, and she'd just been summoned by her county sheriff. >> so i went into his office and homeland security was waiting for me. and they were like, sit down, we need to talk to you. and they said we just received in the last ten minutes that your husband is trying to have you killed today. >> sarah? on a hit list? why? sarah had a pretty good idea. >> they wanted all the money. and he knew i had it locked up with the divorce getting ready. so getter had out of the way and we'll get all the assets. so he could run to brazil. >> but sarah marked for death? yes, the sheriff told her, she was supposed to die that very day. >> what was that moment like for you?
>> i can't even describe it. doesn't seem real. it's like a movie. i sat there and spoke with them all day. and i'd asked, can i call someone? like, i don't know what to do. they said nope. we have to take you into a safe home. >> call no one? >> hm-mm. >> not even your mom? >> no, no one. because they were afraid james would harass my family and friends to find my location, once he realized i wasn't responding to him i went into panic mode. he didn't know if i was working with the police, if i was dead, if i was on the run. >> the cops knew her husband was lurking somewhere out there. but they couldn't find him. >> he was harassing a lot of my friends and family, trying to see if they'd heard from me, which they hadn't. >> now the cops were sarah's best hopes to stay alive. they tried a ruse to throw him off the scent. >> they drove me to the border in canada to make it look like i had jumped the border to see if james would chase me.
>> he did not. but where was he? no one seemed to know. with sarah close enough so they could actually see her, investigators tried to track her husband's phone. >> you're sitting in a homeland security office and listening to them ping him across the state. he's on the run, he's on the move. a car backfired in the parking lot and all these agents pull their guns out and run to the windows, because they didn't know if james was in town. it's a surreal thing. >> even if they found him, though, they couldn't charge him with murder or conspiracy. didn't have enough evidence for that. but they did have something quite useful. a few days earlier, a search warrant enhanced federal and state agents descended on james and sarah's empty house while they were out of town. what did you find in the house? >> found a lot of financial records. found some firearms. >> some firearms? >> yeah. i can't remember the exact number.
>> it didn't matter if there was one there, he was a convicted felon, right? >> right. >> grounds for immediate arrest. agents fanned out around north dakota. and a few days later, in a little place called mandan, there he was. >> what was he doing? >> he was over at his girlfriend's friend's apartment. >> that is the apartment of a friend of peyton. the chief's daughter. >> we had guys stake out around it, doing surveillance on it. as we drove by, i recognized him. and i knew that was him. >> on the street. >> we hopped out, told him to show us his hands. >> he was surrounded by cops, guns drawn and pointed. so what happened then was very odd. >> he had his hands in his pockets. kept telling him to show me his hands. he had this stupid smirk on his face. we helped him to the ground.
he's smiling up at me and asked me, you know, hey, how are you? he instantly went into like trying to charm us. >> trying to pull a con on the cop. >> yeah, like he was going to build rapport and we were going to be buddies? >> bizarre though the arrest was, james henrikson was in custody. sarah, no choice, had to stay in deep cover, hiding in a secret shelter. unable to call friends or even her parents just in case the hit was still a go. >> i had a bunch of friends call the sheriff and the police, and they were asking, they said we think he's had her killed. we drive around looking in ditches, because no one was allowed to know. they wanted him to think that it had gone through to see what he would do. >> can't imagine what it would be like for your family. >> it was hard for them. >> and james agreed very civilized, to talk to
investigators, but what he did not do. [ laughter ] >> [ bleep ]. >> was tell them the real story of what he'd been up to. >> he gave us, to me, it was a story. he talked about the cartels. the triad, all these organized crime groups that he implied having connections to. >> did he think you were buying it? >> oh, i think in his mind he thought we were buying it. but it was so outlandish,
nobody's going to believe that. >> trouble was, investigators in north dakota and spokane still didn't have enough solid evidence to tie james henrikson to the murders of carlile and clark. henrikson would have to wait in jail. that is if they could keep him there while he had other ideas. coming up -- preparing for the great escape. >> they knocked out that window, dropped some bed sheets to the ground, nine stories. >> oh, my god. when "dateline" continues. ♪ howl whimper yap yap yap yip licking, scratching, scooting, and rubbing... may be signs of allergic itch, a medical condition that may require fast-acting, prescription apoquel. apoquel has helped over 6 million itchy dogs
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we're on the move. hey rick, all good? oh yeah, we're good. we're good. terminix. defenders of home. james henrikson was one of the stranger perks homeland security agent truedell had ever encountered. henrikson was also an inept criminal, rarely seeming to get his schemes to work. >> it's almost like a tragic comedy.
>> they put out a hit on another business partner, but the hit man ran off with the money. >> he said it was the easiest $10,000 he ever made. >> gradually, agent truedell and burbridge and sesnick amassed circumstantial evidence to show henrikson for all his criminal fumbling did orchestrate two murders, casey clark and doug carlile. but it was not quite enough circumstantial evidence to take to trial. till finally, the break they needed. timothy suckow, remember him? admitted he killed both victims on orders from james henrikson, and the middleman caved, too. robert delao. the man who came snooping around
a couple days after the carlile murder and passed a polygraph. now deleo admitted he recruited suckow and transmitted henrikson's orders and the money. so september 2014, nine months after his arrest on weapons charges, james henrikson was flown from north dakota to spokane, washington and charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, solicitation and murder for hire in the deaths of casey clark and doug carlile, and attempts on the lives of three more business partners. he was not charged, however, with trying to kill his wife sarah, because, said the prosecutors, they went with the charges that were easiest to prove. so henrikson was toast, unless? as he sat in the spokane jail awaiting trial, henrikson did
his best to see that the trial would never happen. >> he tried to hire people to attack the marshal man that was transporting him. shoot the driver, set fire to the van and break him out the back while the van's on fire. >> oh, lord. >> he was still letting on that he had a lot of money. and in jail obviously, it doesn't take too long to find people that will bite on that. he found one that needed help with his current charges, so he turned him in pretty quickly. >> thus the plan was foiled. >> yes. >> but henrikson wasn't done. >> he was in another cell with a person suspected of murder. there are windows in even of the cells. they knocked out that window, dropped some tied-together bed sheets down to the ground nine stories. >> oh, my lord. >> some people showing up for work saw it hanging out the window. >> can you squeeze someone out the window? >> they're purposely designed so
an adult human head can't get out the window. >> they could have charged him for escape attempts. they didn't. the prosecutor had bigger things to do. and finally, january 2016 james henrikson encountered them. >> i was so mad i couldn't see straight. >> the still-grieving family. >> i had to say a prayer for god to calm me down. i needed to put my hands down. >> then you'd be in trouble. >> they were however, not exactly confident about their case. >> proving casey clark's murder was the toughest part that i was thinking of. we didn't have a body. we had no forensic evidence. >> so, to get a conviction, they'd need these two sketchy characters, who allegedly on orders from henrikson had done some truly awful things. if they didn't tell the story and make the jury believe it, henrikson would get away with
murder. but if they did tell it? what sort of credibility would a person like that have? >> my concerns our most important witness is going to admit that he killed two people, literally beat casey clark's brains out. >> how do you handle that? >> you have to raise it. our number two witness has a tattoo on his back of him urinating on the headstone of the last guy that he killed. these are our two star witnesses. >> still, tim suckow, the actual killer was by far the more important witness. after all, suckow could tell the jury chapter and verse about the many twisted and homicidal plots set in motion by james henrikson. so, two nights before the trial was to begin, attorneys jones and ahmed went to see suckow, to prepare him for his testimony. and that's where it all went south. suckow is bipolar. >> he was laying down on the floor of the prison cell in a
fetal position. so this is two days before our star witness is going to testify. and he's basically sucking his thumb on the floor of a jail cell. we're there at 10:00 at night, trying to make sure this guy gets his medication so he can effectively testify before a jury. >> would james henrikson, the desperado of the oil patch go free? coming up, the entire courtroom stunned. >> i had decided long before then james henrikson was crazy. i didn't know he was that kind of crazy. >> when "dateline" continues. these folks, they don't have time to go to the post office they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer
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so when the trial began in federal court, no cameras allowed, the prosecutors held their breath, and suckow, back on his meds came through. and in court he repeated just what he said here in his pretrial interviews, that he met delao and they both worked for the company that owned the white van he drove the neat he shot doug carlile, but the year before that job, delao told him he could make money for roughing up some guy in north dakota. but then the boss, james henrikson changed the plan. so when casey showed up at james' office before going on vacation, suckow was behind the door with a heavy truck jack.
anyway, he said he got the $20,000 and he burned the bloody clothes. investigators found buttons and other evidence of that burn pile. but though they took suckow to the prairie twice to look for the burial site, they never found casey clark's body. >> casey clark was simply killed for the reason that he just wanted to leave james henrikson's employment. >> he felt wrong. >> so he was going to kill him? >> it was like a jealousy, cheating spouse kind of thing. >> and why did he want doug carlile killed? >> he really felt that the oil deal they were involved with was worth tens of millions of dollars, and he thought that doug carlile was standing in the way of him getting most, the large share of those tens of millions of dollars. >> mr. carlile had already threatened mr. henrikson that he
was going to get him out of the oil drilling business. >> and that was the thing that triggered this whole business? >> yeah, they were each trying to get each other out of the deal. >> at the trial, prosecutors introduced hundreds of text messages, an almost play by play account as the plan rolled out. >> you can watch a text message go from henrikson to delao and then the content is passed from delao to suckow and back the other way. negotiations over payment, who's going to be there, an alarm system. >> though, when doug carlile returned from church that evening in december, suckow was waiting. he brought a heavy welding glove in case he had to punch in a window. he didn't have to.
and then somehow the welding glove got left behind. the glove that revealed suck ow's dna and solved the case. >> without the glove we would probably be unsolved to this day. >> and what happened then? james henrikson was a very dangerous man, was actively planning more murders. eventually, they said, had suckow not lost his welding glove, henrikson might have become that worst of all criminals. >> a serial killer is someone who causes the death or murder of three people. and he got an a for effort, because he tried. there were about 11 people that we know of that he tried to have murdered. >> james henrikson's attorneys
declined our request for interview, but they blamed suckow and delao and said the jury should not believe such unsavory characters. elberta watched the trial play out. >> i prayed for justice for my husband, that the truth would come out and that there would be a way to go on in life. >> deliberations took less than a day. on all 11 counts, murder for hire, solicitation, conspiracy and more, the jury found james henrikson guilty. >> we wanted to jump up and down and clap, you know, as a family, because our whole family was there. >> it was great. >> in the weeks that followed, robert delao, the go-between, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. when timothy suckow, the hit man, faced the judge. >> the only thing he ever asked
for was that we do what we can to ensure that he was sent to a prison with appropriate mental health facilities so he could figure out what was wrong with him. >> then, in court, he turned around and faced elberta. >> said please forgive me. i'm so sorry for what i've done. >> did he seem genuine? >> he did. he said it in tears, and he said i can't forgive myself, but can you forgive me? and i, i told home yes. i said i forgive you. and god forgives you. >> 30 years for tim suckow. when it was james henrikson's turn, a ripple ran through the court. would he, too, ask forgiveness, admit guilt? apologize? reveal the location of casey clark's body? well, no. not a chance. >> he read a short story that was very graphic about abortion. so much so that everybody in the courtroom was very uncomfortable
with what he was saying. and i think he just did that to purposely upset people. >> i had decided long before then that james henrikson was crazy. i didn't know he was that kind of crazy. >> henrikson will leave prison only in a box, having received two consecutive life sentences. he's chosen not to appeal. and here in the vast north dakota grass lands, casey clark's friends and family are still searching, vowing to stay with it until they find him. >> i just want to like, all right, james, you son of a -- we're going to get some closure here. >> and elberta? >> sometimes grief overwhelms me. i'm in a pile of tears, and i've not lived alone ever. >> takes some figuring out. >> it takes figuring out. >> sarah, thoroughly investigated, was held blameless, not involved in
james' conspiracy. but in the community and among some in law enforcement, suspicion lingers. in june 2017, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. sarah was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay over $340,000 in restitution. >> so, as you look at all these events, and you think, gosh, what sin did i commit to be in this spot. what would you say? >> i trusted a con artist. i trusted a sociopath. i married a monster. some people think i should be one, too, but i'm not. >> wreckage, lots of it. once upon a time, in a flat and gracious land, where tough men wrestle for oil, murderous ambition bubbled up with the crude and made a play as old as human kind. what was it all about, really? why? >> greed. plain and simple. it came down to greed.
all about money. . i'm craig melvin. and i'm natalie morales. and this is "dateline." i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> i just can't see why someone we knew would want to hurt her. >> hokd this happen? hokd this happen to someone that we knew? >> it's been a very long 13 years. homecoming queen hannah hill was just 18 when she disappeared. everybody's sweetheart. >> this doesn't happen to people like her. what, why, where, when? >> and who? was it her boyfriend? they had fought before. >> did you verbally abuse her? >> yes. >> did you physically abuse her? >> yes. >> or was it another man in her