Last Updated: Monday, May 9, 2000, 10:30 a.m.

Slain teacher's husband hires attorney

The husband of slain Palo Alto music teacher Kristine Pedersen Fitzhugh has hired noted criminal defense attorney Thomas J. Nolan Jr. to represent him, police said Tuesday.

Police were quick to add that they have no suspects in the case and that Kenneth Fitzhugh Jr., the teacher's husband, is continuing to cooperate in the investigation.

"I don't know what you'd read into (the hiring of Nolan)", said Palo Alto police Agent Jim Coffman. "Just because someone hired an attorney doesn't mean they're guilty."

Kenneth Fitzhugh, a former scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop, has been in seclusion and living outside the family house on Escobita Avenue while police investigators search the property for clues to the killing.

Kristine Fitzhugh's body was found at the bottom of her basement stairs Friday. Initially assumed to be a terrible accident, the case shifted suddenly Saturday to a homicide investigation, when the coroner determined that an accidental fall could not have caused Fitzhugh's injuries, which police characterized as "head trauma."

Police on Tuesday morning still were not disclosing the exact nature and extent of Fitzhugh's injuries, whether the house showed any signs of a forced entry, or whether the killer is suspected of knowing Fitzhugh or was simply a random intruder.

Police will hold a neighborhood meeting regarding Fitzhugh's death Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the training center next to the Palo Alto school district office at 25 Churchill Ave.

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