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Published May 14 2010

Hearings, files closed in Gattuso custody case

Court records have been sealed and hearings are now closed to the public in the Louisiana custody case involving the orphaned 4-year-old daughter of slain Fargo dentist Philip Gattuso, his brother said.

In a court hearing on Wednesday in Gretna, La., a judge granted a motion by the dentist’s brother, Roy Gattuso, to close the files and hearings as the custody case progresses toward an Aug. 23 trial.

Philip Gattuso was beaten to death in his south Fargo home on Oct. 26, seven months after his wife died.

Gattuso’s former father-in-law, Gene Kirkpatrick, is charged in connection with his death, accused of paying a former handyman to kill the dentist. Police believe Kirkpatrick aimed to get custody of the girl.

Roy Gattuso has temporary custody of the 4-year-old, but the brother and Regan Williams, the former sister-in-law of the dentist, are both seeking permanent custody. The case was being heard in North Dakota before being moved to Louisiana, the native state of the Gattuso family.

A judge also denied a motion by Williams to require mental evaluations for the participants in the custody case, Roy Gattuso said.