Last Updated: Tuesday, July 3, 2001, 12:45 p.m.
Defense says Fitzhugh traumatized after seeing
Nolan: Blood splatters
in kitchen not enough to pinpoint murder location
by Bill D'Agostino
Kenneth Fitzhugh suffered such trauma after seeing the badly beaten
body of his wife of 33 years that he did not remember putting his
polo shirt and running shoes, containing blood of the wife, in his
Chevy Suburban, defense attorney Thomas Nolan said in his opening
statements on Monday.
Testimony continued today with a friend of Kristine Fitzhugh and
a Mountain View police investigator.
The Fitzhugh's two dogs, Reina and Boots, are turning into key
witnesses. Nolan said that the reason Fitzhugh went to his car after
discovering Kristine Fitzhugh's body was to check on the Pomeranian
and poodle . He absentmindedly put the clothes in the car, Nolan
said, where police later found them stashed under the Chevy's driver
seat and floorboard. When investigators asked Fitzhugh about the
items later, Nolan said that he was "dumbfounded" how the clothes
got into his car because the trauma of the days events had scarred
him into repressing the memory.
Nolan also plans to argue that the beating happened in the basement,
not the kitchen as Deputy District Attorney Michael Fletcher argued
in his opening statement. The reason Nolan knows this? There wasn't
enough blood discovered in the kitchen. With a beating as severe
as the one Kristine Fitzhugh underwent, Nolan said there would be
blood on the ceiling.
He told the jury that the blood discovered in the kitchen by the
chemical Luminol, was both too small and not certain to be Kristine's.
Luminol, Nolan explained, will pick up animal blood (from steak,
for example) and reveal it the same way as human blood. Overall,
he said, the murder scene investigation was shoddy and lacking.
He also criticized the Police Department's unwillingness to investigate
any possible witnesses other than his client, Kenneth Fitzhugh.
On Monday afternoon, Fletcher began presenting the people's case,
showing a dramatic videotape tour of the Fitzhugh's' home right
after the murder. Bookended between silent images of the family's
home and cars were grisly shots of Kristine Fitzhugh's body lying
at the foot of the basement stairs. The gruesome images included
close-ups of her badly beaten face and the blood which had poured
out of her head.
Fletcher's witnesses included a store manager from Peet's Coffee
where Kristine purchased some coffee and food just before the murder,
and a FedEx driver, who both helped to lay out a general timeframe
for the murder.
Gaelyn Mason, a fellow schoolteacher with Kristine and a Fitzhugh
family friend for eight years, testified late Monday and this morning.
She was one of two women who accompanied Kenneth Fitzhugh to the
home to find out why Kristine, a music teacher, had missed her morning
After discovering her dead body, Mason helped Kenneth Fitzhugh
give his wife CPR by administering the chest compressions. Her account
of the defendant's actions and whereabouts that day will be key
in determining whether Fitzhugh did in fact go back to the car with
the shirt and shoes.
At one point after finding the body, Mason alleged that Fitzhugh
said, "I'm sorry I got you involved in this."
After checking up on Kristine, Kenneth and the two women had been
planning to pick up casino tables for Mason's birthday party, which
was to have held been the day after Kristine was murdered.