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The Kristine Fitzhugh Case

Wednesday, July 25, 2001, 11 a.m.

Fitzhugh says he didn't know

by Bill D'Agostino

Kenneth Fitzhugh testified on Tuesday that prior to his wife's death he never knew or even suspected that their son, Justin, was fathered by another man.

His testimony in Palo Alto Superior Court directly contradicted the theory of prosecutors, who claim that Fitzhugh killed his wife of 33 years, Kristine, in order to keep her from telling Justin that his biological father was a family friend, Robert Brown.

A full-house crowd jammed Judge Franklin Elia's courtroom to watch Fitzhugh testify in his own behalf. Many anxious spectators were turned away.

Fitzhugh said one reason he never suspected that Brown had fathered Justin was that Brown led a "gay lifestyle." According to Fitzhugh, Brown also expressed disdain for women, and once hit on Fitzhugh himself.

Fitzhugh told the jury that he rejected him, saying, "I respect your lifestyle but I don't want a part of it."

Despite the refusal, Fitzhugh said that the two men were extremely close until the Fitzhugh family decided to cut off contact with Brown when he could not handle a drug problem. Fitzhugh, an only child, described Brown as "the brother I never had."

Fitzhugh said he first found out that Brown was Justin's biological father after he had been in jail eight months on charges of murdering his wife. He told the jury that he was "devastated" by the news

"I went back to my cell and was quiet for a long time," Fitzhugh said.

Fitzhugh recalled that he later had a talk with Justin in which he told him, "You are still my son and I am still your dad."

Also on Tuesday, Fitzhugh recounted his romance with Kristine. He said that she first approached him at a San Diego County fair in 1964 while he was playing the pipe organ, a lifelong hobby. She was 16 and he was 20.

"She came up to me and said, 'Why don't you play more Bach,' which I thought was a great opening line," Fitzhugh told the jury with a smile.

The couple would married two years later and stayed married for 33 years until Kristine's death on May 5, 2000.

Fitzhugh's testimony continues today (Wednesday).




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