WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 01, 2010, 03:42 PM

Jurors listen to a recorded interview of Kirkpatrick contemplating hiring someone to murder Gattuso

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Insight tonight into the mind of the man accused of being the mastermind behind the plan to murder Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso. Today was the first day of witness testimony in the Michael Nakvinda trial. In court, in an hour-long recorded interview with police, Gene Kirkpatrick contemplates hiring someone to murder Gattuso.

It's a voice that jurors weren't scheduled to hear until later in the trial: but today Gene Kirkpatrick was heard loud and clear in the courtroom. In a taped interview with detectives, he admitted that he and his handyman Michael Nakvinda had "tossed around" the idea of hiring someone to kill Philip Gattuso. Nakvinda knew someone who would do it for 100-thousand dollars, but Kirkpatrick said he couldn't afford that.

VOICE OF KIRKPATRICK: "One of the things I said to him was, Mike there's some problems with doing this. I said, I'm not saying I wouldn't want to do it but I said if I do something like this, we won't get away with it."

Kirkpatrick revealed his distaste for his son-in-law: saying Gattuso was a bad parent and calling him a "moron", "weak" and an "odd duck", adding that if Gattuso was found dead, he wouldn't care.

Also testifying today was Gattuso’s close friend Julie Willert and neighbor Richard Brammell. They were the first to find Gattuso in the ransacked home.

JULIE: "Started walking over there, towards the bedroom and got to the island kitchen and stopped and saw the blood and knew I couldn't go any further."

BRAMMELL: "There was a clear shot to the bedroom and that's when she got hysterical. (PROSECUTION:) 'OK, and why was that?' Because she could see Phil on the floor and blood around his head."

Although Kirkpatrick talked about hiring a hit-man, he said he never told Nakvinda to do it. Saying if Nakvinda did it go through with it, it may have been more of a "friend" gesture. Court was dismissed before the end of the interview. More details will start on Day 3.

Also during the taped interview, Kirkpatrick said it broke his heart knowing his granddaughter Kennedy would be left with Philip after his daughter Valerie died and he said he didn't want the murder to happen if Kennedy was home.