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Preliminary hearing in murder case postponed


A continuance was granted Wednesday for a preliminary hearing for a Montpelier man charged with murder.

Kevin Hoff, 27, is accused of murder, a Class AA felony, in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Gututala, 25, Jamestown, on May 12 in the parking lot of the apartment building in which she lived with their two children.

Court-appointed defense counsel Russell Myhre requested the continuance pending the completion of a psychiatric evaluation. Court records indicate a motion requesting a psychiatric evaluation was made on June 8 with the evaluation ordered by the court on July 2.

Myhre told the court the evaluation was necessary to ascertain if Hoff was able to understand the proceedings and aid in his defense.

Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen did not oppose the continuance.

“I’d rather have things in harmony before proceeding,” he said.

Several people wearing T-shirts lettered with “Justice for Nicole” attended the hearing but declined to comment after the brief proceeding.

The preliminary hearing will be rescheduled upon the completion of the psychiatric evaluation, which is scheduled to occur at the North Dakota State Hospital.