Murder of Kristine Fitzhugh

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Kristine Fitzhugh was a music teacher in Palo Alto, California. She was murdered in her home on May 5, 2000. On October 11, 2001, her husband, Kenneth Fitzhugh, was convicted of her second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life.[1] The murder attracted strong local attention.


On May 5, 2000, Kristine was murdered at her home. Her husband created an alibi by running an errand with two friends. He made an excuse to stop by the house. He went inside and "discovered" his wife was dead.

Kristine's body was at the bottom of the stairs to the basement. The suggestion was that Kristine had tripped and been killed by the fall. The paramedics, however, were suspicious of the circumstances.

A forensic investigation determined that Kristine had been killed in the kitchen and then repositioned at the bottom of the stairs in a staged accident. The blood in the kitchen had been cleaned up, but luminol showed the clean up. The cleanup and staging suggested Kenneth Fitzhugh was responsible.

Although Kenneth claimed he was far away from the house at the time of the murder, information from cellular telephone towers placed him near the house.


The motive for the murder was speculated to be that Kristine was planning to reveal to her eldest son that he had been fathered by another man. Kristine had a six year affair with a man named Robert Brown early in her marriage to Fitzhugh and long suspected that Brown was her son Justin's true biological father. Kristine informed both Fitzhugh and Brown that she was going to inform Justin of her suspicions upon his graduation from college. According to police and prosecutors, this infuriated Ken and led him to murder Kristine. A DNA blood test conducted by police after the murder indeed confirmed Brown as Justin's biological father.[2]

Conviction and sentence[edit]

Kenneth Fitzhugh was convicted of second-degree murder and, in 2001, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.[1] An appeal of Fitzhugh's conviction and sentence was rejected in 2006 by the California Supreme Court. Fitzhugh was paroled on compassionate grounds in February 2012 due to a terminal illness; he died in Palo Alto[3] on October 27, 2012.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stannard, Matthew B. (October 11, 2001). "Fitzhugh gets 15 years to life / Palo Alto man lacks remorse in wife's death". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Smith, Carlton (2003). Blood Will Tell: A Shocking True Story of Marriage, Murder, and Fatal Family Secrets. New York, NY: St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 204. ISBN 0-312-97795-6. 
  3. ^ Herhold, Scott (December 4, 2013). "Murder in Palo Alto — the coda to the Kenneth Fitzhugh case". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Palo Alto murderer dies after 'compassionate' parole". Palo Alto Online. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 

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