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Published July 18, 2011, 10:11 PM

Kirkpatrick trial set to begin

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A nearly 2 year murder case may be coming to an end in the coming weeks. The brutal murder of Fargo dentist Phillip Gatusso still has the Gatusso family in "emotional anguish.”

A nearly 2 year murder case may be coming to an end in the coming weeks. The brutal murder of Fargo dentist Phillip Gatusso still has the Gatusso family in "emotional anguish.” Phillip's father in law Gene Kirkpatrick is now in Fargo awaiting trial, he's accused paying someone to kill Gatusso. Jury selection in the trial will begin tomorrow morning.

We spoke with Roy Gatusso tonight, Phillip's brother who says the trial of Gene Kirkpatrick feels much worse that the Michael Nakvinda trial who was convicted of murdering Phillip. Roy tells us he believes Nakvinda was just the weapon, but Kirkpatrick was the culprit.

Kirkpatrick and his attorney Mack Martin strolled in to the Cass County Courtroom this afternoon. Gene Kirkpatrick has been a free man for nearly 2 years after posting a 1 million dollar bail last February. The trial to free or convict Kirkpatrick of Conspiracy to murder charges will starts tomorrow. We spoke with Roy Gatusso, Phillip’s brother over the phone who asked not to be recorded but he tells us this.

Roy Gatusso: “The past two years is even worse than an emotional roller coaster, little sleep and thinking about the safety of his family" and "Phillip’s daughter Kennedy" who he now takes care of. This trial is even more emotional than Nakvinda's because Gene had a relationship with Phillip and my family. As far as I’m concerned Nakvinda was the weapon. Gene was the culprit"

Jury selection will begin tomorrow morning at 9:30. There are 119 jury prospects in the case. Jury selection should last a couple days. The trial should begin within the week.

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