Hong Kong milkshake murderer loses appeal against second conviction

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 02, 2013 10:22 PM

By Grace Li

HONG KONG (Reuters) - American expatriate Nancy Kissel, who is serving a life sentence for the "milkshake" murder of her Merrill Lynch banker husband, lost a bid to appeal against her conviction in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Kissel, 49, has been in jail since 2005 when she was found guilty of murdering her husband after giving him a drug-laced milkshake and then clubbing him to death with a metal ornament in their luxury home. She was convicted for a second time in 2011, following a retrial.

The case engrossed Hong Kong with its tales of domestic violence, rough sex and adultery that cast a shadow over the high-flying expatriate lifestyles enjoyed by many financial professionals in the former British colony.

The conviction was "neither unsafe nor unsatisfactory" and a significant amount of time had been given to the case, Court of Appeal Judge Wally Yeung said in rejecting Kissel's appeal.

Kissel, looking calm, walked out of the court with the help of two policewomen. There were no family members present.

Her defense team had argued that the prosecution had made errors in its case, including stating that the murder happened when her husband, Robert Kissel, was on a bed, which they said contradicted testimony from a prosecution expert that the death was more likely to have happened on the floor.

They also said the prosecution improperly led the jury to ignore the fact that Kissel was suffering from depression at the time, and that the judge should have reminded jurors of the significance of this.

During her retrial in 2011, Kissel had pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, with the defense arguing that she suffers from depression and had been provoked into the crime after years of sexual and physical abuse by her husband.

(Reporting By Grace Li; Editing by Michael Perry)