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Published January 27, 2011, 01:02 PM

Judge to Allow Alleged Confession in Fargo Murder Case

A North Dakota judge says an alleged confession by an Oklahoma man accused of hiring his handyman to kill his former son-in-law should be allowed in trial.

By: Associated Press,

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota judge says an alleged confession by an Oklahoma man accused of hiring his handyman to kill his former son-in-law should be allowed in trial.

Gene Kirkpatrick of Jones, Okla., has pleaded not guilty of conspiring to murder Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso in October 2009. His lawyer argued Thursday that statements Kirkpatrick made to police after the killing were not voluntary and should not be admitted.

Judge Steven Marquart denied the motion in a bench ruling. Trial is scheduled for July 19.

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.

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