VIDEO: Man convicted of killing a Fargo dentist stands by his innocence after receiving life sentenceFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Michael Nakvinda will serve the maximum sentence for killing Fargo Dentist Phillip Gattuso. The judge says Nakvinda is a danger to society because of his cruel past, and the way he morbidly attacked and killed Gattuso with a hammer.
By: Todd Kurtz, WDAY
Michael Nakvinda's criminal past was made public for the first time. It includes robbery, kidnapping, and rape. Nakvinda stood up and released a statement to the Gattuso family. He stood by his innocence and says he gave up his wild life years ago.
MICHAEL NAKVINDAMurdered Phillip Gattuso: "I spent 8 years building a business that depends on loyalty, respect and honor."
None of Nakvinda's family or the Gattusos were in the courtroom. Nakvinda responded to things the Gatusso family said about him in the newspaper.
"I don't want them to think I’m the person they portray me to be, I’m not. I take care of my mother. I take care of my kids."
In a phone interview with Phillip Gattuso's brother, Roy Gatusso says he is not buying Nakvinda's claims.
"There's no doubt in my mind or my family's mind that he was the weapon."
The one who released the weapon, Roy says, is Phillip's father-in-law Gene Kirkpatrick. He awaits trial for setting up the murder.
Roy Gattuso's family now looks after Phillip's daughter Kennedy. He says everyone is elated with the outcome of the sentence, and eagerly awaits Kirkpatrick's trial.
"Some comfort in that he will not be around to harm anyone else in our family. Unfortunately until that trial is over, we just don't have full closure."
Roy did say Kennedy is doing great adjusting to life with her new family. They just got her school progress report and she received excellent marks from all of her teachers.
Prosecuting attorney Birch Burdick says they expected nothing less than life in prison without parole. He reminded the court that this was a planned out, violent crime. The defense told the court they will be filing an appeal.