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Extradition hearing for man accused of plotting to kill Fargo dentist set for Nov. 25

FARGO -- An Oklahoma man is set to appear in court the day before Thanksgiving to determine whether he should be sent to Fargo to face a charge that he plotted to murder his son-in-law.

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven signed papers Thursday supporting the extradition of Gene Carl Kirkpatrick, accused of hiring his handyman to kill Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso.

Kirkpatrick, 63, of Jones, Okla., is charged in Cass County District Court with conspiracy to commit murder, a Class AA felony carrying up to life in prison, and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's office planned to mail the extradition papers to Oklahoma's governor Friday afternoon, office spokeswoman Liz Brocker said.

The papers, which identify Kirkpatrick as the man charged in Cass County, will be presented Nov. 25 to a judge in Oklahoma County, where Kirkpatrick is fighting extradition and is charged as a fugitive from justice.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick has said he doesn't anticipate any problems with the extradition process.

Prosecutors allege Kirkpatrick paid Michael Allen Nakvinda $3,000 to kill Gattuso because he didn't like how the single dad was raising his 3-year-old daughter after the death of his wife, Valerie Gattuso, in March.

Gattuso was found beaten to death with a hammer in his south Fargo condo on Oct. 26. His 1999 Porsche Boxster was missing from his garage.

Nakvinda, a 41-year-old ex-convict from Oklahoma City, was arrested at his home Oct. 31. He faces a murder charge in Cass County and is also accused of stealing the Porsche and hauling it back to Oklahoma City on a trailer.

According to a search warrant filed Thursday, authorities found a hammer "with possible bloodstains" in the Porsche during a Nov. 2 search of a storage space that Nakvinda rented the day after Gattuso's death.

Nakvinda waived his right to fight extradition and is being held in the Cass County Jail on $1 million cash-only bail.

Meanwhile, Gattuso's Porsche was returned to Fargo late Thursday on the same U-Haul trailer that Nakvinda allegedly used to haul it away from the crime scene, Fargo police Capt. Tod Dahle said.

The convertible is being stored in the police department's evidence storage garage, he said.