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Man pleads not guilty to helping cover up murder-for-hire scheme in North Dakota oil patch


BISMARCK, North Dakota — A man accused of covering up an alleged murder-for-hire scheme in the North Dakota oil patch pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.

Authorities say George Dennis, formerly of Watford City, helped James Henrikson remove and dispose of Kristopher Clarke's body from Henrikson's truck shop after another man bludgeoned Clarke to death in February 2012. Clarke's body has not been found.

Dennis appeared in Bismarck on charges of allegedly moving the body and then lying to agents. Trial has been scheduled for Jan. 12.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment. Dennis' lawyer, Jeff Bredhal, did not immediately return a message Wednesday from The Associated Press.

Henrikson is charged in federal court in Washington state with ordering the killings of Clarke and Doug Carlie. Carlile was shot to death in his Spokane, Washington home in December 2013. Investigators say Henrikson was upset with the two men over business dealings in oil country.

Henrikson originally pleaded guilty but withdrew those pleas on Tuesday, following a judge's ruling that he faced a certain life sentence rather than a lesser term recommended in a plea agreement with prosecutors. A hearing to revisit the case is set next month.

During the plea hearing in September, Henrikson admitted that he ordered Timothy Suckow to kill Clarke and Carlile. Prosecutors say they will recommend a 30-year prison term for Suckow, who has pleaded guilty.

Henrikson and his former wife, Sarah Creveling, are accused in civil proceedings of defrauding various investors and individuals in the oil patch.

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