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Hammer found in stolen Porsche of slain Fargo dentist

By Dave Roepke

Forum Communications

A hammer that appeared to be stained with blood was found in the Porsche convertible police believe Philip Gattuso's killer stole after beating him to death with a hammer, according to Oklahoma court records.

The hammer was found on Nov. 2 on the passenger-side floorboard of the car, which police say was in a storage space that Michael Allen Nakvinda rented on Oct. 27 - the day after Gattuso, a 49-year-old dentist, was killed in his south Fargo condominium.

Nakvinda, who was arrested on Oct. 31, faces a murder charge in Cass County District Court. Gattuso's former father-in law, Gene Kirkpatrick, is accused of hiring Nakvinda to kill his granddaughter's single father for $3,000. He's charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

A search warrant filed in Oklahoma City on Thursday detailed what was in the storage unit where the 1999 Porsche Boxster was found. It was one of four already-executed warrants filed with the district court in Oklahoma County.

The affidavit in support of the search warrant for storage lot C2B at Young's Camper and Boat Storage in Oklahoma City states that Fargo police Lt. Pat Claus told a state police agent in Oklahoma that Gattuso was hit nine to 11 times in the back of the head with a "hammer-like instrument."

In executing the search warrants, Oklahoma police found more than the apparently bloody hammer.

Police found some items in the storage space that they had listed as specific evidence they were seeking, such as digital cameras, laptops, a Blackberry and a GPS device.

Among other items found were two pillow cases full of jewelry and electronics, a violin and bow and other computer equipment. Three other items from Young's Camper and Boat Storage appeared to have blood on them: an Apple laptop, a watch and a DVD player.

In another storage space rented by Nakvinda, police found a gray tarp and two handguns, with ammunition to go with the guns. From Nakvinda's truck, police seized a hammer and took swabs for forensic evidence.

In Nakvinda's home, police seized numerous items, including an obituary for Philip's wife, Valerie Gattuso, who died in March, a total of more than $2,300 in cash stored in a Master Chef coffee tin and a pair of cell phones for which police obtained additional warrants to search.

Agents in Oklahoma did not appear to find a .38-caliber revolver missing from Gattuso's home. It did not appear they found a pair of shoes they were looking for, either.

Fargo police told their counterparts in Oklahoma to look for a pair of shoes with a "wave pattern with a basketball-like emblem in the middle of the soles."

Warrant affidavits said a pair of shoes like that left bloody prints tracking all over Gattuso's condo.