WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published November 30, 2010, 03:14 PM

"He got framed," says lawyer for defendant as major developments unfold on Gattuso murder trial's first day

FARGO – There were big revelations in both opening statements this afternoon in the first day of the murder trial for one of two men accused in the murder of a Fargo dentist.

By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM

FARGO – There were big revelations in both opening statements this afternoon in the first day of the murder trial for one of two men accused in the murder of a Fargo dentist.

Michael Allen Nakvinda, a carpenter police accuse of killing Philip Gattuso with multiple blows to the head with a hammer in his south Fargo home, plans to testify in his own trial that Gene Carl Kirkpatrick set him up to take the fall.

“In the end, he got framed. He got framed for a murder he didn’t commit,” said Nakvinda’s attorney, Steve Mottinger.

Kirkpatrick, who faces a murder conspiracy charge for allegedly paying Nak-vinda to kill his former son-in-law, will also take the stand in Nakvinda’s trial, and he’ll insist he never told his handyman to kill Gattuso and orphan his 4-year-old granddaughter.

The testimony from the grandfather will be given for the prosecution, though those same lawyers haven’t given him any deal, are not dropping charges he faces and still plan to prosecute him this spring, said Mark Boening, an assistant Cass County state’s attorney.

Police allege Navkinda beat Gattuso to death before stealing his Porsche, a killing for which Kirkpatrick is accused of paying Nakvinda $3,000.

Nakvinda is charged in Cass County District Court with murder, theft, robbery and burglary. His trial has been scheduled to continue to the end of next week.

Other developments:

1) Prosecutors revealed a hammer found inside the Porsche in a storage space Nakvinda rented in Oklahoma City had blood and hair from Gattuso on it.

2) A witness not found until July, a discovery that delayed the trial from its initial August start date, will testify that Nakvinda mentioned to her in early October – weeks before the Oct. 26 murder – that he’d use a hammer if he were to kill Gattuso.

3) The defense plans to introduce an e-mail sent by Regan Williams, daughter of Kirkpatrick, to her attorney before the dentist’s death. Mottinger said she asks her lawyer what the penalty would be if they had Gattuso killed.

4) Though police combed through Gattuso’s home, where he was bloodily beaten to death, they didn’t find any DNA or fingerprints belonging to Nak-vinda.

For more information, read The Forum on Wednesday.

Tags: