The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 20

(The Standard)  Banker did not put up a struggle, murder trial told.  By Albert Wong.  July 12, 2005.

Banker Robert Kissel did not struggle as he was beaten to death by a heavy object, a forensic expert told the High Court Monday.

Government chemist Lun Tze-shan explained that, by taking photographs of the pattern, size and shape of blood and the height at which the splatters landed in the master bedroom, it can be estimated what might have taken place, what kind of weapon was used, and the posture of the victim when he was attacked.

Nancy Kissel, 41, is accused of drugging her husband with a milkshake laced with sedatives, leaving him unconscious at the foot of their bed as she beat him to death with a heavy metal ornament on November 2, 2003.  The accused told a doctor and the police at the time that her drunken husband assaulted her, and then disappeared. She denies the murder charge and is out on bail.  The banker's decomposing body was discovered in a storeroom in the Kissels' Parkview residential complex in the early hours of November 7.

"From the distribution of bloodstains - on the surface of the television, cabinet and end of the bed [which were] basically found at a low level - my finding is that the attack could have happened at the end of the bed or the surrounding area,'' Lun said.  He said he thought blood splashed from the wound and landed on various items because he found no "contact blood.'' In other words, there was no evidence that blood was smeared on surrounding items due to a struggle, he said.

If a long weapon had been used in the attack, the flinging action would have left "cast-off blood'' in the area, but he found no evidence of such a pattern. As the blood stains were generally found at a low level, Lun believed the victim could not have been standing when he was attacked.

Blood stains on a cushion, which was found packed in a cardboard box, exhibited the "impact pattern,'' but since the cushion was not found in the master bedroom, he could not be sure if it was related to the same attack.

DNA tests on samples from the blood spots found at the foot of the bed showed they probably came from the deceased banker, but DNA results "are expressed in probability,'' Lun said.

However, no results were obtained from the DNA analysis on a stain found on the headboard of the bed.  "I cannot even tell whether or not it was a blood stain,'' said Lun.

Under cross-examination, senior counsel Alexander King for the accused pointed out there were other blood spots in the region at the head of the bed, that Lun had consciously omitted from his "expert's report'' in June, 2004.

Lun went to the murder scene on November 8 to conduct the "blood-stain pattern analysis'' after a police officer, who conducted the preliminary examination, informed him of the blood stains on various items around the room.

King pointed out in photographs, blood spots on a photo frame, which Lun agreed he had consciously omitted from his "expert's report'' and did not submit for DNA testing.  "Did you find any other blood in that location [the head of the bed] that you did not bother to record?'' asked King.  "According to my memory, there was a small amount of blood spots on the table and dehumidifier that I did not choose for DNA analysis [because I thought they were all part of the same pattern],'' Lun said.

The trial continues today.

(SCMP)  Blood indicates no struggle, court told.  By Polly Hui.  July 12, 2005.

There was no sign that Robert Peter Kissel put up a vigorous struggle when he allegedly was bludgeoned to death by his wife at the foot of their bed, jurors heard yesterday. But government chemist Lun Tze-shan was challenged by counsel for Nancy Kissel on why he had consciously omitted analysing samples from two bloodstains found near the head of the bed.

The chemist was called to analyse bloodstains in the bedroom of the Kissels' Parkview flat on November 8, 2003, six days after Nancy Kissel is alleged to have murdered her husband, a senior Merrill Lynch banker. She has pleaded not guilty. Mr Lun told the Court of First Instance the fatal attack could have happened at a low position in the space between the end of the bed and cabinets in the bedroom.

Identifying blood splatters or spots in seven areas of the bedroom from the photos he and his colleague took during their visit, Mr Lun explained that five of the stained areas - a TV screen, two cabinets, a brown paper bag and the rim of a wardrobe - were all at a low level around the foot of the bed. The remaining two areas - a framed painting and part of the wall below it - were near the head of the bed. DNA tests conducted on the blood samples seized from these areas showed they probably came from the deceased, he said.

Mr Lun said there was no sign of a vigorous struggle.

In the event of a struggle, "blood from the wounds of either of them would come into contact with furniture or the wall", Mr Lun said, and the stains would usually be "flattened out". But he had found no such bloodstains...Mr Lun said he believed the deceased was attacked when he was sitting or lying at a low position since there were no bloodstains higher on the walls or ceiling.

Defence counsel Alexander King SC asked Mr Lun why he had not mentioned in his report bloodstains found on a dehumidifier and a picture frame leaning against the wall on the floor near the bed head. Mr Lun said he noticed the stains but felt it was not necessary to record them and had not done a DNA analysis on them. "You made a conscious decision of not reporting the finding?" the defence counsel asked.

Mr Lun said he could already establish that blood was splashed from above on to the wall from two other bloodstains on the hanging picture and the part of the wall immediately below it.

The case continues before Mr Justice Michael Lunn today.

From the Chinese-language media

(Ming Pao via Yahoo! News)

Retired government chemist Lun Tze-shan testified yeterday that on November 8, 2003, he went to the scene of the incident to analyse the blood pattern distibution.  He determined that the blood splattering pattern were concentrated mainly at the end of the bed.  Therefore he believed that the attack should happen at the lower position at the end of the bed . At the time Robert Kissel wa either sitting or lying down.
Since there were no blood stains on the walls farther away from the end of the bed or on the ceiling, he believes that the perpetrator did not use an elongated weapon.  Furthermore, there were no blood smears on the wall that might indicated a struggle, so he believes that the deceased did not offer any struggle during the attack.
In addition, the police found a cushion that contained large amounts of blood from the deceased.  The blood spread from one side onto the other side.  Dr. Lun pointed out that when a person continuously hits an object containing blood, the blood will splatter all over and that is consistent with the pattern on the cushion.