Kissel Appeals Her Second Conviction for Husband’s Murder
By Douglas Wong – Oct 7, 2013 6:16 AM ET
Nancy Kissel, serving a life sentence in Hong Kong for the 2003 murder of her Merrill Lynch & Co. banker husband, sought to appeal her second unanimous conviction by a jury for the crime.
The jurors’ finding of unprovoked murder was unsafe because the prosecution had improperly directed them to ignore unanimous and unrebutted evidence that the mother-of-three was suffering from depression, her lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal today.
Nancy Kissel, serving a life sentence in Hong Kong for murdering her investment-banker husband in 2003, arrives at the Court of Final Appeal in a police van in Hong Kong on Feb. 11, 2010. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg
Kissel, 49, has been imprisoned in Hong Kong since her first conviction in 2005 for murdering her husband Robert at their luxury apartment. Hong Kong’s top court found in 2010 that improper questioning and hearsay evidence had tainted the original trial. Prosecutors charged her again with murder, rejecting her offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
That offer, Kissel’s poor physical and mental state and widespread publicity of prejudicial material about the case meant the retrial shouldn’t have been allowed, Fitzgerald said.
Judge Andrew Macrae, who had rejected Kissel’s bid to halt the retrial, also should have told the jury to be careful before ignoring the evidence about her depressive illness, her lawyer said.
A jury of seven women and two men in 2011 accepted that Kissel planned to drug her husband with a milkshake before bludgeoning his skull with a lead ornament while he was unconscious on their bed. Kissel’s lawyers had argued that she was depressed, suffered from battered woman syndrome and was provoked by her husband before she killed him.
Kissel, who was brought into the court in a wheelchair by three uniformed officers today, gasped and rocked while Fitzgerald described how she killed her husband after he attacked her.
David Perry, a lawyer for the prosecution at Kissel’s retrial, will respond to Fitzgerald’s arguments tomorrow.
Kissel had earlier decided not to appeal her second conviction and applied to transfer to the U.S. to serve her life sentence, the court heard. That move wasn’t pursued after it was advised that no application for parole could be made there.
The U.S. expatriate’s journey from a $20,000-a-month apartment with a view of the South China Sea to a prison cell on the Chinese border spawned at least two books, U.S. network news specials and a Lifetime Television movie. Media coverage intensified after Robert’s millionaire real estate developer brother Andrew Kissel was stabbed to death in 2006.
The case is Nancy Ann Kissel and HKSAR, CACC66/2012. Hong Kong Court of Appeal.
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