The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 40
From the Chinese-language media:
Realizing that the knowledge of her affair with an electrician living in a trailer park would disadvantage her in divorce proceedings, accused murderer, Nancy Kissel went on a "shopping spree for drugs'' the week before her banker husband Robert Kissel was murdered, the prosecution suggested in the High Court, Tuesday.
At the same time, the lover, Michael Del Priore, considered the accused a "goldmine'' and was willing to invest time and money on long-distance calls, which increased in frequency in the months leading to the alleged murder and intensified on significant dates, such as the day the accused was prescribed Rohypnol, the court heard.
Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Peter Chapman, also suggested that it was "nonsense'' that the accused had felt so lonely that she searched for "medication causing heart attack'' on the internet to commit suicide, because e-mail records suggest at the time she had plenty of social functions with her female friends to go to.
She was also "intimately familiar with sleeping pills and painkillers'' by this time, said Chapman, and could have just taken any one of the bottles she said was lying around the house to kill herself. Regarding the accused's testimony that she searched for Rohypnol on October 23, 2003, because she was prescribed it and had not heard of it before, Chapman commented: "So Dr [Annabel] Dythin is the sort of doctor who doesn't tell her patient what she's prescribing is she?''
Kissel replied she wanted to find out more about the drug. She said she never thought of leaving her husband, was visiting alternative doctors, not shopping for drugs, and was spending more time on the phone to Del Priore because the intensity of Robert's abuse was increasing.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution has suggested that Nancy Kissel was the primary beneficiary of the deceased's life insurance policies. His sister, Jane Clayton, the first prosecution witness, estimated his estate to be worth US$18 million, including stocks, cash, real estate and life insurance.
Tuesday, Chapman continued with his third day of cross-examination. He suggested that by August, the accused had no intention to salvage the marriage.
"Michael Del Priore was the man you loved. He was the man in your life,'' said Chapman.
Kissel replied that he was the person she had become very close with since they shared a lot and that "he continued to give support.''
"Del Priore lived in a trailer park right?'' asked Chapman. "No,'' she answered.
"In a stationary mobile home?'' suggested Chapman. "I believe something like that,'' she replied.
"And you represented a potential goldmine to him didn't you Mrs Kissel?'' said the prosecutor.
"No, he had an understanding of what my life was about,'' she said
Kissel said he did not judge her by what she possessed and accepted her as a person.
Chapman pointed out that in the month of September, 2003, Kissel made 52 calls to Del Priore and then 106 calls in October. On the day she was prescribed Rohypnol, a drug found in the stomach of the deceased, she made seven calls to Del Priore before and after her meeting with the doctor.
At the end of August, two days before her husband returned home from New York from back surgery, the accused had searched for sleeping pills, "drug overdose'' and "medication causing heart attack.'' That day, she had spoken to Del Priore for over three hours. The accused said she never talked about receiving the drugs, nor her thoughts of suicide to Del Priore.
Chapman noted that the "pattern'' was she would only call for a few seconds, and then receive a call back from Del Priore, but the accused said she would not pay for the return call. "This man called you back, spending hours on the telephone, spending hundreds and hundreds of US dollars, which a resident at a trailer park can ill-afford,'' said Chapman.
"He worked,'' she replied.
"I suggest to you, he considered that a good investment,'' said Chapman.
Prosecution witnesses have testified that they thought the accused realized her husband had discovered her secret mobile phone which she used to contact Del Priore and that he was preparing divorce papers.
The accused said Tuesday, she did not know he knew of the secret mobile phone at the time.
"So he didn't come and confront you and beat you up? That would seem a bit out of character wouldn't it?'' asked Chapman.
Nancy replied, "yes, it would seem so'' and did not know why he didn't confront her.
By the end of October, "you had 10 tablets of Rohypnol provided on the 23rd and 20 tablets of Dextropropoxythene provided on the 28th -- that's 10 pretty good nights of sleep and plenty of painkillers,'' said Chapman.
"Then on 30th October, off you go to Dr Fung and you end up with Lorivan, Amitryptaline and some more Stilnox,'' he noted.
Nancy agreed, but said she switched to Dr Fung, because he was a psychiatrist, and more suitable than the previous doctor.
"Three days after that,'' said Chapman, "those three drugs end up in Robert Kissel's stomach, Mrs Kissel, along with the Rohypnol.
"In relation to those four drugs. How were you supposed to take them?'' he asked.
"As directed,'' she replied.
"All together?'' Chapman asked.
She said she was not sure, but would have taken them according to instructions.
"Robert Kissel seemed to have taken them all together on 2nd November with two as an added bonus, didn't he?'' asked Chapman.
"I don't know,'' she replied.
Nancy Kissel is accused of serving her Merrill Lynch banker husband a pink milkshake laced with sedatives, which left him unconscious at the foot of the bed as she bludgeoned him to death with the heavy metal ornament on November 2, 2003.
The decomposing body of Robert Kissel, a former high-flying banker with Merrill Lynch, was found wrapped in a rug, locked in a storeroom at their Parkview residential complex in the early hours of the November 7.
Kissel testified last week that she thought he was going to kill her that night during which they had a furious argument about divorce, resulting his attempt to have sex with her.
In resisting the sex, she knocked him on the head, which resulted in him swinging a baseball bat at her while repeatedly saying, "I'm going to kill you, you bitch.''
Last week she admitted that she inflicted the fatal wounds with the metal ornament, but said she could not remember any further details about the fight, and her consequent actions. She denies the murder charge and is out on bail.
Tuesday, Chapman suggested that the accused returned to Hong Kong on July 30 from Vermont, only to go back to New York on August 3 with her husband because she would have the opportunity to make a sneak visit to Del Priore in Central Park.
Kissel said she did meet him then and there for half an hour, but the purpose of that trip was to support her husband through back surgery.
The accused said that in this period, the "anal sex, cocaine use and painkillers'' continued.
Chapman said that the banker's doctor in Adventist Hospital gave the impression, "he was a cripple, barely able to walk, destined for New York to have back surgery.''
"That's what painkillers are for,'' said the accused. She said, "he still drank, he took drugs. He was a very capable person of getting things he wanted from me.''
Chapman pointed out that the deceased had by September, known web pages for drugs had been visited, half-jokingly expressed concerns for his life to his confidante, wondered to his private investigator whether his whisky was being tampered with, and did not trust his wife -- "that's something that would put a stop to his drinking isn't it?'' he asked.
She said he continued drinking.
The prosecutor also noted she had written in her computer diary, "he wants kissing, sex, sex, sex'' and that when she refused, he would "throw a fit, opened his book, and stick his nose in the book.''
"Was that an accurate description of your sex life?'' he asked. She said she couldn't understand the kissing, given his forceful sodomy.
According to Nancy's testimony, "Robert would not take no for an answer and would extract sex through violence that's not what it says here is it?'' said Chapman. "Sex doesn't fix things,'' she replied and that the sex didn't correlate with him reading the book.
Earlier, the prosecutor noted that in the literature from her computer diary, there was no mention of cocaine or forceful sodomy.
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