The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 21

(The Standard)  Kissel crime scene expert sticks to guns under fire.  By Albert Wong.  July 13, 2005.

A government chemist in the Nancy Kissel murder trial has conceded that he ''failed to locate all blood stains that were present around the room,'' and was worried that the suspected crime scene had been tampered with before he conducted his ''blood-stain pattern analysis.''

Lun Tze-shan was subjected to a full day's grilling by the defense counsel Tuesday about the professionalism of his examination and the possibility that his conclusion that the deceased banker, Robert Kissel, was beaten to death without a struggle, was "fundamentally flawed.''

When shown photographs of areas he had failed to examine, Lun agreed that there seemed to be further signs of blood stains, spots or smears.  Lun said he did not know that furniture had been removed from the master bedroom where the alleged attack took place and agreed that omitting certain blood spots, stains or smears from his analysis would result in an "erroneous or flawed conclusion.''

But he did not think his own analysis of the blood patterns was "fundamentally flawed,'' since he merely said it was "likely,'' and not "highly likely,'' that the deceased was attacked without a struggle.  Lun had destroyed all his contemporaneous notes.

Nancy Kissel, 41, is accused of serving her husband, Robert Kissel, a pink milkshake laced with sedatives that left 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 had assaulted her after she refused him sex, and then disappeared. She denies the charge and is out on bail.  The banker's decomposing body, wrapped up in a carpet, was discovered in a storeroom in the Parkview residential complex in the early hours of November 7.

Lun went to conduct his "blood-stain pattern analysis'' November 8 and came to the conclusion, by taking photographs of the pattern, size, and shape of blood and the height at which they landed, that it was "likely'' the deceased had been attacked with a short object without a struggle at the foot of the bed.

Alexander King, senior counsel for the accused, referred him back to those photographs, reminded him that he was not a trained photographer, and asked, "Do you consider this photograph to be good enough to conduct blood stain pattern analysis?

"Don't be shy, Dr Lun. It's not good enough, is it?''  Lun said "it could be better'' but that it was sufficient to provide "basic information.''

Referring to photographs taken November 7 by police scientific officer Tam Chi-ching, King pointed out to Lun that he had failed to examine and make reference in his "expert report'' to what appeared to be more blood spots on the opposite corner of where he thought the attack to have taken place, by the head of the bed.

Lun also agreed that, by looking at Tam's photographs, he thought he could see possible blood spots on a pair of dumbbells lying on the floor by the head of the bed, but did not ask those to be seized as exhibits.  He said he did not himself photograph this area next to the dehumidifier at the head of the bed.

With reference to more of Tam's photographs, King pointed out that, between the inside panel of the door and a standing cupboard, there were signs of other possible blood spots, stains or smears that Lun had failed to record in his report.

Lun agreed that it may have been of importance had he noticed it during his examination. On two of such possible blood "smears,'' Lun said he could notice "tails'' to the blood "rather vaguely'' and so he could not rule out the possibility that someone had tried to wipe it out.

He also said that "contact patterns,'' which would show signs of a struggle, can come in the form of a blood "smear,'' but he thought the smear would have been more prominent than that on the photograph if there were a struggle.

Regarding a possible blood stain in this same area by the door and the cupboard, he said he would not have considered taking a sample for a DNA test.

King reminded Lun that he conducted a DNA analysis on a stain found on the headboard of the bed.  "So you conducted analysis on that area because you considered some action had taken place there, is that right?'' said King. Lun agreed.

Explaining why he had previously referred to a baseball bat as an example of an elongated weapon that he ruled out from being the murder weapon, Lun said that senior inspector See Kwong-tak had mentioned a baseball bat to him.  The judge also helped clarify that, when Lun meant no "elongated weapon'' was used, he meant that an "elongated weapon had not been used with blood on it, otherwise it would have caused `cast-off blood' to be thrown around the room.''

Under re-examination by senior assistant director of public prosecutions Peter Chapman, Lun said that when he said "action,'' he meant some sort of movement. He also said his own photographs were of "better quality'' when developed on standard photographic material rather than paper.

Re-examination of Lun continues today in the High Court before Justice Michael Lunn.