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The Kristine Fitzhugh Case

Monday, July 16, 2001, 6 p.m.

Fitzhugh interview played in court
Video depicts detective's first meeting with husband after murder

by Bill D'Agostino

Monday afternoon a Palo Alto jury got a look and listen to the first interview Palo Alto Police Sgt. Michael Denson conducted with Kenneth Fitzhugh after his wife Kristine was discovered dead at the bottom of their basement steps on May 5, 2000.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Fletcher played the nearly one-hour interview in its entirely shortly after Denson took the stand.

In the interview, Fitzhugh recounted his version of the day's events, including the moment when he went down the basement steps and discovered his wife's body lying there.

"I looked to see if she was breathing," he related to Denson. "Her back and chest were not going up and down at all. So then I saw the black shoe - "

During most of the interview, Fitzhugh seemed calm and relaxed - even twiddling his thumbs at times or putting his arms behind his head - but at that moment, anger came over his face and he banged his fists on the table as he yelled, "Those g-----n black shoes!"

Fitzhugh went on to relate to Denson how Kristine had fallen in the shoes before. He added that he had told her not to wear them: "She'd get dressed and she'd say, 'How do I look?' and I say, 'Well, fine except I wouldn't wear those d--n black shoes. You're going to fall.'"

The police and prosecution believe that Kenneth Fitzhugh killed Kristine Fitzhugh in the kitchen, and then dragged her body to the basement to make it look like she had fallen on the steps.

Earlier in the interview, Denson asked Fitzhugh if police could investigate his home for evidence. Although Fitzhugh initially stated that he didn't mind, he later reneged, saying that he wanted them to only look in the basement and not elsewhere in the house.

Fitzhugh also gave Denson his alibi for the time of the death, stating that he was at a "real estate project." He couldn't remember the name of the town where the project was, however.

Near the end of the interview, Fitzhugh told Denson that he was sorry that Kristine would not make the college graduation of "her son" Justin Fitzhugh. The statement intrigued Denson, who ultimately discovered that Justin had been biologically fathered by another man, Robert Brown.

Fletcher has argued that Fitzhugh killed his wife because she told him she was going to reveal to Justin that Brown was his father at his graduation.

Fletcher expects to wrap up the people's case tomorrow. He added that he will call Justin Fitzhugh later in the trial because he is currently out of town.




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