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Published July 28, 2011, 06:57 PM

Gene Kirkpatrick found guilty on both counts

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It took a jury just 4 hours to convict Gene Kirkpatrick of paying his handyman to kill Fargo dentist Phillip Gattuso in October of 2009.

It took a jury just 4 hours to convict Gene Kirkpatrick, of paying his handyman to kill Fargo dentist Phillip Gattuso in October of 2009.

A shocking verdict to many here at the Cass County courthouse today. Shocking... because it came less than 4 hours after jury got the case, and a shock to many when the courtroom heard these words…

Jury Foreperson: “We find Kirkpatrick guilty on both counts.”

Gasps and tears filled the courtroom as those words were read just moments ago . Tears from both Kirkpatrick's family, and for the family of Philip Gattuso.

Kirkpatrick was accused of ordering a hit on his son and law Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso to gain custody of his grand daughter Kennedy after Kirkpatrick’s daughter died. The prosecution played an interview where Kirkpatrick admitted he wanted Gattuso dead, and even talked to his handyman Michael Nakvinda about it and paid Nakvinda $3,000. Nakvinda is serving life in prison for committing the murder.

The defense argued Kirkpatrick may have ranted but never ordered the hit, but the jury disagreed. We were the only ones to hear from Kirkpatrick as he was being escorted to jail after the verdict was read..

We were also able to talk with Philip Gattuso's brother, who now has custody of Philip's daughter. He says he was surprised when the verdict came back so quickly that is was guilty..

Roy Gattuso – Phillip’s Brother: “When they had said the verdict was coming in, I was very, very nervous and very scared. But obviously the prosecutors, like I said, did a phenomenal job of presenting it. They made it crystal clear.”

Kirkpatrick faces life in prison without parole. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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