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North Dakota oil truck firm chief convicted of murder-for-hire plot against business rivals

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The operator of an oil trucking firm was convicted on Thursday of orchestrating the killings of two business rivals competing for work in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch, prosecutors said.

A jury in federal court in Richland, in southeastern Washington state, convicted James Henrikson of hiring a man to kill Kristopher “KC” Clarke in February 2012 in North Dakota and Douglas Carlile in December 2013 in Spokane, Washington.

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Henrikson faces the possibility of life in prison when he is sentenced on May 24 in Spokane, they said.

Three men who prosecutors say arranged and carried out the contract killings, and pleaded guilty to a host of federal charges, testified at Henrikson’s trial, which began on Jan. 25.

The jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all ten counts of murder-for-hire and conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder-for-hire, and one count of conspiring to distribute heroin, after little more than a day of deliberations beginning on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington confirmed the guilty verdict but declined to comment.

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Federal prosecutors used four weeks worth of witness testimony, as well as records of cellphone conversations, firearm purchases, and business documents to portray Henrikson as a vindictive businessman bent on subduing several people he viewed as an impediment to his enterprises.

Prosecutors argued that Henrikson wanted to kill Douglas Carlile, an investor who refused to give up his stake in an oil lease and that Carlile owed Henrikson money.

Henrikson told several of his trucking company employees that he was outraged by Clarke’s plans to start or join a competing trucking firm and that he had “betrayed his loyalty,” court documents said.

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In September, Timothy Suckow, a man Henrikson hired to carry out the murders and paid $20,000, pleaded guilty to killing the two men, court documents show. Another man, Robert Delao, also pleaded guilty to helping to arrange Carlile’s murder by acting as a middleman between Henrikson and Suckow, among other charges.

A third man, Lazaro Pesina, who was at Carlile’s house when he was killed, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, court documents show.

Suckow faces up to 30 years in prison, Delao could be sentenced to 14-17 years, and Pesina could face 12 years.

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Attorneys for Henrikson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Alistair Bell and Andrew Hay)


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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