The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 23

(The Standard)  Kissel DNA match 'probable'.  By Albert Wong.  July 15, 2005.

Government forensic scientists told the High Court Thursday they believed the blue tape used to secure the top of the carpet in which the decomposing body of Merrill Lynch banker Robert Kissel was found contained samples of Nancy Kissel's DNA and came from the same bundle of tape found in the living room of Kissel's Parkview apartment.

A heavy metal ornament - alleged to have been the murder weapon - was also carried into court for instrument expert Dr Wong Koon-hung to identify and explain how the 3.714kg object could have been detached into three pieces.

Kissel, 41, is accused of serving her husband a pink milkshake laced with sedatives, which left her husband unconscious at the foot of their bed as she beat him to death with a heavy metal ornament on November 2, 2003.  She told a doctor and the police at the time that her husband had been drunk and had assaulted her after she refused him sex, before leaving their home.  She denies the murder 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.

Instruments seized from the Parkview residential complex were delivered to Wong for examination on November 8.  Wong told the court that the ends of the blue tape found wrapped around the carpet could be fitted to the ends of blue tape found in a plastic bag seized from the living room of the Kissels' apartment.

Taking out the blue tapes from their exhibit bags, Wong re-joined the ends to show they were a perfect match.  Jurors, lawyers and the judge then passed the desk on which the tape lay to examine it.

Wong also demonstrated how the metal base with protruding nails and two figurines could be re-attached to form a single metal ornament.  One larger figurine could be seen sitting with legs astride facing the smaller figurine, with legs close together.

However, even when re-attached, Wong said the ornament would have looked different in its original form. ``An external force has been applied to the figurines causing the legs to be bent or arched,'' he said.  He said the legs should lie flat on the base but, because of an external force, the figurines had become deformed.

"A small child of five years old would not have the strength to cause such a disfigurement, but an adult [with significant force] would certainly be able to do that,'' he said.

Senior assistant director of public prosecutions, Peter Chapman, read out a written statement of forensic scientist Billy Leung, who testified that the white powder he was asked to examine consisted mainly of sodium carbonates often found in detergents.

Government DNA-typing expert Dr Pang Chi-ming testified it was "probable'' that the DNA which was found on the blue tape belonged to both the deceased and the defendant.  The DNA found on a white rope used to secure the carpet belonged to three possible individuals, one of whom could be the defendant.

Pang said he could find no traces of semen in a penile swab taken from the body of the deceased.  Blood found on the metal ornament also contained DNA "probably from the deceased,'' with a one chance in 429 billion that it belonged to someone else, he said.

The trial, before Justice Michael Lunn, continues.

(SCMP; no link)  Ornament damaged by 'significant force'.  By Polly Hui.  July 15, 2005.

Damage to a heavy metal ornament Nancy Kissel allegedly used to bludgeon her banker husband to death suggested "significant force" had been used, a forensic scientist testified yesterday.  The family heirloom, weighing 3.7kg, is in the form of two girls seated face to face on a base the size of a man's hand. The witness, Wong Koon-hung, told the Court of First Instance it appeared the figurines had been stuck into the base when the metal was still hot. In addition, three nails protruding from the base held them in place.

The witness said he believed "a force had been applied to the back of the heads of the figurines", causing the two pairs of legs to bend upwards and become detached from the base on which they lay.  "A five-year-old would not have the strength to cause such disfigurement but adults would certainly be able to do that," he said.

Asked by government prosecutor Ada Chan if considerable force was needed for the disfigurement, Dr Wong said: "It is a significant force, not considerable."  The court has heard the ornament had been an heirloom from the accused's grandmother.

The prosecution alleges that Kissel, 41, killed top Merrill Lynch banker Robert Peter Kissel by repeatedly striking his head with the ornament in the master bedroom of their Parkview flat in Tai Tam on or around November 2, 2003, having first drugged her husband with a sedative-laced milkshake.  The deceased's body was found wrapped in an old carpet in a Parkview storeroom rented by the defendant.  Kissel has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Pang Chi-ming, the government laboratory's DNA typing expert, said the two figurines and the ornament's base were splattered with blood when he received them for tests in November 2003.  Dr Pang told jurors he had tested DNA taken from blood on the ornament's base against samples taken from the deceased's spleen and the accused's saliva, and found it matched the deceased.  The chance that the blood came from any white American other than Robert Kissel was one in 429 billion, he said.

"You have any idea about the size of the population of the whole world?" asked the prosecutor.  "It is about six billion," the witness replied.

Dr Wong said he found DNA matching Kissel and the deceased on a blue cord the prosecution says was tied around a sleeping bag into which the deceased's body had been pushed.  He also found DNA from three people on a white rope the defendant is alleged to have wound around a rolled-up carpet containing the sleeping bag with the body. Dr Pang said he could not rule out that the defendant was one of the three people whose DNA was on the rope.

Prosecutor Peter Chapman, who read out evidence given by two other chemists yesterday, said laboratory tests on two samples of a white powder taken from the wooden portion of the bed and the carpet near the foot of the bed in the master bedroom where the murder allegedly took place contained sodium carbonate, a chemical found in cleaning agents.  The sample contained no dangerous drug, Mr Chapman said.

Mr Justice Michael Lunn asked the prosecutor to confirm that the white power was not cocaine. The prosecutor said that was so.

The case continues today.

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