Father-in-law charged in Fargo dentist's slaying
By Mike Nowatzki
The father-in-law of slain Fargo periodontist Philip Gattuso reportedly admitted to police that he not only hired his handyman to kill Gattuso, but also videotaped Gattuso's residence for the accused killer about two weeks before the Oct. 26 homicide, according to court documents.
Gene Carl Kirkpatrick, 63, of Oklahoma City was charged Tuesday in Cass County District Court with conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit burglary.
According to the warrant that allowed Oklahoma police to arrest Kirkpatrick at home Monday night, he reportedly told investigators the following:
Sometime prior to Gattuso's death, Kirkpatrick told Michael Nakvinda that he wanted Gattuso "gone or dead and had felt this way for quite a while."
Nakvinda, 41, also of Oklahoma City, replied that he "knew someone who could do that for him" for $100,000.
Kirkpatrick told Nakvinda he couldn't afford that much, and the two eventually agreed that Kirkpatrick would pay Nakvinda $3,000, plus an additional $10,000 later.
Kirkpatrick intended to funnel the $10,000 from a business he planned to start. He later changed his mind and was going to pay $20,000 to Nakvinda.
Just before an early October trip to Fargo, Kirkpatrick received a video camera from Nakvinda with instructions to tape Gattuso's residence, a condo at 2536 S. University Drive.
Kirkpatrick did so and returned the camera to Nakvinda.
He also told Nakvinda he saw a calendar at Gattuso's residence showing he had no appointments or activities scheduled for Oct. 26 - the Monday Gattuso was found beaten to death.
Two or three days before the homicide, Kirkpatrick met Nakvinda at a McDonald's restaurant in the Oklahoma City area and gave him $3,000.
The warrant also states that authorities searched Nakvinda's residence on Saturday and seized a video camera and $2,500 in cash. His mother, Edith Wade, told police she recognized Kirkpatrick's name as someone for whom Nakvinda had done odd jobs, including painting the Kirkpatrick residence, the warrant states.
Kirkpatrick and his wife, Sharon, agreed to a voluntary interview with police later that day, the warrant states.
During the interview with Fargo Police Detective Paul Lies and an Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agent, Kirkpatrick "expressed concern over the way Gattuso was raising his daughter," the warrant states.
Gattuso had been raising the girl alone after his wife, Valerie Gattuso, died March 30 after battling heart problems.
A neighbor of Gattuso's, Carolyn Corwin, told authorities that in September she saw a man she believed to be Kirkpatrick taking photos of Gattuso's Porsche in his driveway. Nakvinda is accused of stealing the car during the Oct. 26 homicide. It was recovered Monday from an Oklahoma City storage facility.
Kirkpatrick told an Oklahoma County judge Tuesday he is fighting extradition to North Dakota to face the charges. He now will appear at an extradition hearing.
The extradition process, which requires approval from both states' governors, could take 30 to 60 days, said Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick. His office will send paperwork to Oklahoma County explaining the basis for the charges against Kirkpatrick and that he's the correct person to face the charges, he said.
Kirkpatrick's attorney, Joe Reynolds, did not return a message seeking comment.
Nakvinda waived his right to fight extradition Monday, giving Cass County authorities 10 business days to bring him back to the county.
Both men were being held without bond in an Oklahoma County jail.