Michael Nakvinda found guilty of beating Fargo dentist to death with a hammerFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Philip Gattuso's murderer is charged. It took jurors about 6 hours to reach a guilty verdict. Michael Nakvinda was found guilty on all charges, murder, robbery, burglary and theft.
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Philip Gattuso's murderer is charged. It took jurors about 6 hours to reach a guilty verdict. Michael Nakvinda was found guilty on all charges, murder, robbery, burglary and theft.
The state had loads of evidence pointing to Nakvinda as the murderer. Its biggest challenge though was putting him at the scene. No evidence was recovered of Nakvinda at Gattuso's home or in Fargo.
After a friend of Nakvinda's recalled him telling a story about killing Gattuso with a hammer, the defense felt it had to put Nakvinda on the stand to tell his story. In return, Nakvinda's testimony helped put some pieces together for the prosecution.
“In light of Gene Kirkpatrick's decision to come up and testify and in light of the rather late development of Debbie Baker’s testimony, I really didn't think we had a choice.”
BURDICK: "He admitted some things in his testimony and I appreciate those admissions, but I think the things that he admitted to, he would have a hard time trying to deny because the evidence is there.”
Nakvinda will be sentenced January 28th. Neither lawyer would comment on what they'll be trying for during sentencing.
Philip Gattuso's family sat through the entire trial. Philip's brother Roy and son Philip Junior both took to the witness stand during trial and were emotional after the verdict.
Roy Gattuso says his family is elated. All of the Gattuso's inside the courtroom along with friends met in the hallway after the verdict, celebrating with hugs and tears. Roy says the harsh reality though is that Philip is still gone.
ROY GATTUSOGattuso's Brother: "The toughest thing for me is when they showed his picture with young Kennedy. That was very heartbreaking, but he's in a good place."
The toughest part is this whole scenario circles around Gattuso's little girl, Kennedy. She now lives with Roy and his family. He says she's doing well, happy, a good student, and a child who loves her parents. He says it's tough to think that one day he'll have to explain what happened.
"But I'm sure she may need some counseling or assistance to deal with it, we'll deal with it step by step and she's a strong child so I’m sure she'll pull through it."
Even with a guilty verdict, the fight for the Gattuso's is not over. Philip Gattuso's father-in-law Gene Kirkpatrick is awaiting trial for being the master mind behind Gattuso's murder. Roy says the family won't rest easy until Kirkpatrick joins Nakvinda behind bars.
"Its part closure and once we have final closure, it will be another step that we can fully get on with our lives and Kennedy can fully get along with her life. So we look to the future right now."
Kirkpatrick's trial will begin in March. Roy Gattuso says he'll be there for every minute.