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Published July 19, 2011, 11:28 AM

Jury selection begins in ND murder conspiracy case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Jury selection is off to a slow start in the trial of an Oklahoma man accused of hiring a hit man to kill his former son-in-law in North Dakota.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Jury selection is off to a slow start in the trial of an Oklahoma man accused of hiring a hit man to kill his former son-in-law in North Dakota.

About 120 prospective jurors for Gene Kirkpatrick's trial reported for duty in Fargo on Tuesday morning, but court officials did not have questionnaires from a handful of them. Judge Steven Marquart apologized for the mix-up.

Interviews were to begin Tuesday afternoon.

Kirkpatrick, of Jones, Okla., has been free on $1 million bail since pleading not guilty to a murder conspiracy charge. Authorities say Kirkpatrick paid Michael Nakvinda $3,000 to kill Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso because Kirkpatrick did not agree with the way his granddaughter was being raised.

A jury earlier this year convicted Nakvinda of murder and three other charges.

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