Lifestyle & Belief

American woman Nancy Kissel found guilty in HK "milkshake murder" retrial


Nancy Kissel (L) leaves the High Court aboard a Correctional Services Department bus in Hong Kong on March 25, 2011. A Hong Kong jury convicted US housewife Kissel of murder over the 2003 killing of her banker husband, in a retrial of a lurid case dubbed the 'Milkshake Murder'. The Michigan-born mother-of-three won a new hearing last year into the killing of Robert Kissel, a senior executive at Merrill Lynch, after her 2005 murder conviction was quashed due to legal errors at the first trial.


Antony Dickson

A Hong Kong jury on Friday found American Nancy Kissel guilty of murdering her Merrill Lynch banker husband in 2003 by giving him a milkshake spiked with sedatives and then clubbing him to death with a metal statuette.

The verdict ended the lengthy retrial full of tales of rough sex, marital violence and adultery, according to Reuters.

Kissel, 46, a mother of three, was originally convicted in 2005 of murder and sentenced to life in prison, but had the verdict overturned at appeal because of procedural flaws.

In the retrial, she had pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, with the defense arguing that she suffered from severe depression and had been provoked into the crime after years of sexual and physical abuse by her husband, Merrill Lynch investment banker Robert Kissel.

Justice Andrew Macrae described the retrial as a "difficult and very serious one," according to Reuters. He said his "hands were tied" in upholding Kissel's life sentence, the usual punishment in Hong Kong for murder.

"I don't wish to say anything to add to your anguish," Macrae said to Kissel, who struggled to stay on her feet as prison wardens led her from the courtroom, Reuters reported.

Kissel appeared in a wheelchair during nearly 10 weeks of proceedings at Hong Kong's High Court.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the case became a grim sensation, offering a glimpse into the lives of a wealthy expatriate couple who appeared to be the picture of a perfect marriage.

Prosecutors charged that Kissel killed her husband in cold blood because he planned to divorce her and wanted custody of their children after discovering she had an affair with a TV repairman in the United States.

They said that after killing her husband, Nancy Kissel mounted a "cleanup and disposal operation," rolling the body up in a carpet and hiring movers to move it to a storage room near the couple's apartment on Hong Kong island.

The defense argued that Kissel was suffering psychological distress from years of bullying by her husband.