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Associated Press, Published August 13 2012

Man convicted in Fargo murder-for-hire scheme appeals

BISMARCK – A man who was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his son-in-law is asking the North Dakota Supreme Court to give him a new trial.

Gene Kirkpatrick is serving a life prison term without a chance for parole for the killing of Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso.

Kirkpatrick was convicted of hiring his former handyman Michael Nakvinda to kill Gattuso. Gattuso was found beaten to death with a hammer in his Fargo home in October 2009.

Court testimony indicated Kirkpatrick didn’t want Gattuso raising his young granddaughter. Kirkpatrick’s daughter was married to Gattuso when she died in March 2009.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the case on Sept. 4.

Kirkpatrick says the trial judge shouldn’t have allowed his statements to police to be used against him at his trial.

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