WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 20, 2011, 03:37 PM

Jury seated in alleged murder-for-hire case in ND

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A jury has been seated in the case of an Oklahoma man accused of hiring his handyman to kill his son-in-law from North Dakota.

By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM

Opening statements are scheduled Thursday morning in the trial of Gene Kirkpatrick, who faces a murder conspiracy charge for his role in the beating death of Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso.

Police say the 64-year-old Kirkpatrick paid Michael Nakvinda $3,000 for the hit. Nakvinda was convicted by a Fargo jury in December of murder.

Kirkpatrick has testified that he and Nakvinda talked about getting rid of Gattuso. Kirkpatrick says he never told Nakvinda to go through with it.

Authorities say Kirkpatrick, of Jones, Okla., was unhappy with the way Gattuso was raising his granddaughter.

Lawyers selected a jury of eight men and six women, including two alternates.