WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 08, 2010, 03:51 PM

Gattuso Murder Trial: Witness testimony ends after accused murderer is cross-examined for over 4 hours

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - After six days, witness testimony wrapped up today in the Fargo dentist murder-for-hire case. It was a discrepancy of stories in the courtroom, where Oklahoma man Michael Nakvinda is standing trial for murdering Philip Gattuso. The prosecution and defense cross-examined Nakvinda for 4-and-a-half hours.

The weapon investigators believe was used to kill Gattuso was shown to and put in the hands of Nakvinda on the stand. He said he'd never seen the weapon before, but was able to identify that it was a "mechanic's hammer" not a carpenter's hammer."

Nakvinda admitted to picking up the Gattuso's Porsche in a town, he believes was a couple thousand people, late at night last October.

He initially told the defense he vaguely remembered the man who gave him the car, but in prosecution cross examination, he believed the man's name was "Robbie" although Investigator Ternes testified they could not locate anyone in the Wahpeton area with that description.

Nakvinda also admitted to getting into the Porsche at the storage unit in Oklahoma to drive it off the trailer, but says he did not see a bloody hammer on the seat, right where investigators found it.

Nakvinda recalls a conversation he over-heard Kirkpatrick talk about with two men before the murder.

"At first I thought they were talking about hunting, well I could do it from a long ways away. He started going into detail about velocity and minutes per second and calibers and then Gene said, 'No, no, no. If I want it done, I want it done close up and personal.' "

Closing arguments will start tomorrow morning, with the jury scheduled to go into deliberation around 1:00 pm. Coming up tonight at 10:00, Nakvinda talks about his relationship with accused murder-for-hire mastermind, Gene Kirkpatrick.