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The Kristine Fitzhugh Case


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Thursday, July 19, 2001, 2:45 p.m.

Fitzhugh seemed calm on morning of crime
Defense calls neighbor, gardener, others to stand

by Bill D'Agostino

One of Kenneth Fitzhugh's business associates testified that Fitzhugh did not appear anxious or in a rush on the morning when his wife was brutally murdered.

Thomas Moore, a lawyer who worked in a home office next door to the Fitzhugh house last year, was called by Fitzhugh's attorney, Thomas Nolan, to take the stand this morning.

On May 5, 2000, Fitzhugh and Moore worked together throughout the morning trying to fix a computer problem. Moore testified that he saw Fitzhugh in the office "off and on" from about 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Fitzhugh is on trial for allegedly killing of his wife of 33 years, Kristine Fitzhugh, in their Southgate neighborhood home. The murder is expected to have occurred between 12:08 p.m., when a FedEx driver saw no cars at the Fitzhugh home, and 1:30 p.m., when Kenneth Fitzhugh returned to the house with two friends of the family and subsequently discovered his dead wife's body.

Thomas Rogers, a forensic pathologist from Alameda County who conducted a second autopsy on Kristine Fitzhugh's body for the defense, also took the stand today.

Rogers' testimony -- that Kristine was killed by seven blows on the back of the head, numerous wounds on the front, and strangulation -- was similar to that of the Santa Clara County pathologist Gregory Schmunk, who called by the district attorney earlier in the case.

Besides doing an autopsy, Schmunk had also looked at the crime scene and used blood evidence to give the conclusion that Kristine was killed in the kitchen, and not in the basement as the defense has argued.

Rogers, however, did not view the crime scene and is not a blood spatter expert so he could not corroborate Schmunk's opinion or refute it.

Schmunk himself was in the courtroom todaylistening to Rogers' testimony. Nolan briefly recalled him to the stand to clear up a logistical matter concerning the location of a section of Kristine's skull that Rogers had not been able to look at in his autopsy. Rogers believed that Santa Clara County had removed it, but Schmunk was unaware of where it was. He said that he would find out and report back to the court next week.

Nolan also called a gardener who worked in the Southgate neighborhood on May 5. Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, he said that he briefly saw Fitzhugh that morning, but could not remember for certain what time he saw Fitzhugh or what he was wearing.

Nolan's case continues this afternoon when he is expected to call 12 witnesses to try to cast doubt upon the people's case.

 

 

 

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