Uploaded: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 2:30
Kristine Fitzhugh 'adamant' about telling parentage
Justin Fitzhugh's fiancee says
she and Kristine discussed unrelated 'real father' case
by Bill D'Agostino and Adam Levermore-Rich
In an eerily premonitory conversation in 1998, murder victim Kristine
Fitzhugh said to her son Justin's fiancee that children should be
told the truth about their parentage, the fiancee testified this
morning in the continuing Fitzhugh murder trial.
The fiancee, Angelina Whitesell, testified that she lived in the
Fitzhughs' Palo Alto home for several summers and began living there
full time in mid-1999.
Whitesell recalled a conversation she had with Kristine Fitzhugh
as the two took a walk in the summer of 1998.
Whitesell said she told Fitzhugh about a cousin of hers who had
recently discovered that the man she knew as her father was not,
in fact, her biological father. Whitesell said she asked Fitzhugh
if she believed the cousin's parents should have been honest with
Whitesell testified that Fitzhugh felt "strongly, close to adamant"
that her cousin should have been told the truth about her parents.
Whitesell is herself a music teacher in the Palo Alto Unified
School District, as was Kristine Fitzhugh.
The prosecution is alleging that Kenneth Fitzhugh's motive for
killing his wife is that Kristine was planning to tell their oldest
son, Justin, that Kenneth was not his biological father.
Defense attorney Thomas Nolan maintains that Justin's mother never
intended to reveal the truth to her son.
Robert Brown, a former Fitzhugh family friend and Justin's biological
father, told the jury during the prosecution's phase of the trial
that Kristine had called him in 1999 to tell him she had decided
to tell Justin the true identity of his father.
The defense has attacked Brown's credibility, citing his admitted
substance abuse and criminal record, as well as the fact he initially
failed to tell police of the phone call.
Whitesell also testified that she normally arrived at the Fitzhugh
home around 1:30 p.m., about the time Kristine Fitzhugh's body was
found on May 5, 2000, but she said she was running late that day.
Whitesell's testimony lasted for about 25 minutes, and the remainder
of the morning was taken up by the defense's next witness, a blood-spatter
expert. He testified that he was unable to determine whether Fitzhugh
had been assaulted in the basement or kitchen.
The defense's counter-theory for the crime is that Kristine was
attacked not in the kitchen by Kenneth Fitzhugh, as the prosecution
claims, but rather in the basement by an unidentified intruder.
Kristine's body was found at the bottom of the stairs in the basement,
where prosecutors say Kenneth Fitzhugh dragged her after attacking
her in an attempt to make her death seem accidental.
On cross examination, the defense expert, officer Michael Block
of the San Francisco police department, admitted there was more
blood-spatter evidence in the kitchen than in the basement -- but
he said he felt the scene was contaminated, which could account
for the discrepancy.