North Dakota judge rejects appeal by Oklahoma man convicted of putting hit on his son-in-law


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FARGO, North Dakota — A judge has rejected an appeal by an Oklahoma man convicted for hiring a hit man to kill his son-in-law in North Dakota.

Gene Kirkpatrick asked to have his conviction overturned because he believes his trial lawyer, Mack Martin, made a mistake by not allowing him to testify.

East Central District Judge Steven Marquart denied the claim in an order issued Thursday.

Kirkpatrick is serving life in prison without parole for allegedly paying a man $3,000 to kill Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso in October 2009 because Kirkpatrick thought Gattuso was a poor parent to his granddaughter.

Cass County prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek tells WDAY-TV that he's pleased with the ruling and says Martin did a good job representing Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick's attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Information from: WDAY-TV,

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