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Jury finds wife guilty of milkshake murder

The Age

Saturday March 26, 2011

Nancy Kissel murdered her investment banker husband, a Hong Kong jury decided yesterday, rejecting claims she was provoked and suffered from mental distress.The nine jurors found unanimously that the 46-year-old had planned the 2003 killing of Robert Kissel in which she gave him a milkshake containing sleeping pills and bashed his head with a lead ornament while he was unconscious.The Michigan-born mother of three faces a mandatory life sentence for a second time.Hong Kong's highest court last year overturned a 2005 conviction, ruling the original proceedings had been tainted by evidence prejudicial to her and ordered a retrial. Kissel can apply to serve out her term in the US under a treaty between the two governments.Prosecution lawyer David Perry argued during the 47-day trial that the late investment banker, who worked for Merrill Lynch, was a victim of a "highly organised" wife who fell out of love and was having an affair with an electrical technician in Vermont.Evidence found on Nancy Kissel's computer showed she had searched the internet for heart-attack-inducing drugs and sleeping pills, prosecutors said.She used four types of sleeping pills to spike her husband's milkshake. When Robert Kissel passed out in his bed, she delivered five blows to the right side of his head with the lead ornament, according to the prosecution.The jurors, who deliberated for more than 10 hours, rejected defence lawyer Edward Fitzgerald's argument that Robert Kissel might have provoked his wife into her "frenzied attack" by saying she was mentally ill, that he had filed for divorce and that he would take custody of their children.

© 2011 The Age

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