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North Dakota Supreme Court rejects another appeal in 2009 Fargo murder-for-hire scheme

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BISMARCK, North Dakota — The North Dakota Supreme Court has rejected another appeal by an Oklahoma man convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his son-in-law in North Dakota.

Gene Kirkpatrick is serving life in prison without parole for paying a man to kill Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso in October 2009 because Kirkpatrick thought Gattuso was a poor parent to his granddaughter.

Kirkpatrick has appealed three times. In his latest appeal he said his attorney was ineffective during discussions about a possible plea deal.

A district judge earlier ruled that Kirkpatrick misused the appeal process, and Supreme Court justices have affirmed that ruling.

Kirkpatrick unsuccessfully appealed to the Supreme Court earlier this year and in 2012.

He's serving his sentence at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. His granddaughter lives with relatives in Louisiana.

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