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Murderer sentenced to life without parole for Fargo dentist's death

Michael Nakvinda

Michael Nakvinda, convicted in the murder of Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso in October 2009, was sentenced this morning to life in prison without parole.

Last month, Cass County jurors found Nakvinda guilty of murdering Gattuso for repeatedly hitting the dentist in the head with a hammer Oct. 26, 2009, leaving the Fargo father to die on his bedroom floor, skull shattered like broken glass as blood pooled under him.

The jury found Nakvinda guilty on charges of murder, robbery, burglary and theft after a nearly two-week trial which featured Nakvinda taking the stand in his own defense.

During the trial, Nakvinda, 42, Oklahoma City, didn't dispute that he had 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 a hammer with the dentist's blood and hair on it and items stolen from his home were inside the convertible he'd stored away.

However, he denied killing Gattuso.

A July trial is scheduled for the other man tied to the murder, Gattuso's former father-in-law, Gene Kirkpatrick.