Jury finds Nakvinda guilty of killing Philip Gattuso
A jury has found Michael Nakvinda guilty of killing Philip Gattuso.
The nine women and three men handed down the verdicts just after 11 a.m., convicting Nakvinda of murder, robbery, burglary and theft. He could face a lifetime prison term with no chance for parole when sentenced at a later date.
In the trial lasting nine days, Nakvinda, a 42-year-old handyman from Oklahoma City, didn't dispute he hauled Gattuso's stolen Porsche from North Dakota back to Oklahoma, where it was found in a storage unit he had rented.
Nor did he deny that a hammer suspected of being the murder weapon and items stolen from Gattuso's home were inside the convertible he'd stored away.
But he claimed he wasn't the person who beat Gattuso to death with at least 10 blows to the head, leaving him to die on his own bedroom floor. He said he was being framed by the man accused of hiring him to kill Gattuso. He claimed he took the car from Wahpeton, N.D., thinking it was a delivery for the former father-in-law of Gattuso, Gene Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick is accused of paying Nakvinda $3,000 in expenses with the promise of $10,000 more in a murder-for-hire plot. He's told police he wanted Gattuso dead so he could get custody of the dentist's 3-year-old daughter. Valerie Gattuso, Kirkpatrick's daughter and Gattuso's wife, died months before the murder.
Charged in Cass County with conspiracy to commit murder, Kirkpatrick is set to stand trial in March.