WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 26, 2011, 08:38 AM

ND murder conspiracy trial delayed until July

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Trial for an Oklahoma grandfather accused of conspiring to murder his granddaughter's father in North Dakota has been delayed until this summer.

Prosecutor Birch Burdick tells The Forum newspaper that the delay from a Feb. 28 start to a July 19 start for Gene Kirkpatrick's trial is due to scheduling matters.

Kirkpatrick, of Jones, Okla., is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso (guh-TOO'-soh) in October 2009. A hearing is set Thursday on whether the trial should be moved out of Fargo.

Kirkpatrick's daughter was married to Gattuso until her March 2009 death. Authorities believe Kirkpatrick was unhappy that Gattuso was raising his granddaughter, and paid his handyman to kill Gattuso.

Michael Nakvinda of Oklahoma City is to be sentenced Friday on a murder conviction.