The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 40

(Associated Press via mlive.com)  Michigan housewife accused of murdering husband plotted drugging, prosecutor says.  By Min Lee.  August 9, 2005.

A prosecutor on Tuesday portrayed a housewife from Michigan accused of murdering her husband as an unloving, scheming woman who met with a lover when her spouse was bedridden and plotted to drug him shortly before he died.

Prosecutor Peter Chapman noted in the days before the killing, Nancy Kissel had acquired various drugs, including date-rape drug Rohypnol and the sleeping medicine Ambien, that ended up in her deceased husband's body.  "You were shopping for drugs that week," Chapman told Kissel, who claims she was physically and sexually abused by her wealthy 40-year-old husband.

Kissel, 41, is accused of making her husband, Robert, a milkshake laced with drugs, then bludgeoning him to death during an argument on Nov. 2, 2003.  She has admitted killing her spouse with a metal ornament but pleaded innocent to murder. She has not admitted drugging him. It's unclear where in Michigan Nancy Kissel previously lived.

Chapman also noted Kissel was in close contact with her lover, Michael Del Priore an electrician who worked on the couple's vacation home in Vermont before her husband's death.

Chapman highlighted how Kissel returned to Hong Kong from Vermont in late July 2003 but returned to the U.S. almost immediately with her husband, who needed back surgery. The prosecutor charged Kissel only went because she wanted to see Del Priore.  Kissel said she went because her husband asked her to, but acknowledged meeting with Del Priore in New York City's Central Park.

"You sneaked out behind your husband's back while he lay on it," Chapman told Kissel.

Chapman read from love letters between Kissel and Del Priore that depicted their relationship as romantic and intimate.  In one letter, Kissel wrote to Del Priore, "I will always love you."

"I love it when you call my name. It makes me melt," Del Priore wrote. Del Priore, who is reportedly in his late 20s, also wrote down his favorite color, favorite food and asked Kissel to guess his favorite sex position.

But Kissel sought to downplay her affection for Del Priore, denying that he was the love of her life when asked by Chapman.  "He's a person I had a relationship with," she said.

Chapman said Kissel made frequent calls to Del Priore on a secret cell phone, with one on Aug. 25, 2003, lasting nearly four hours. Kissel made a total of 158 calls to Del Priore in September and October, according to phone records.

Chapman pointed out Robert Kissel, an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, visited his wife and children in Vermont in the summer of 2003, despite being tied up with work in Hong Kong.  Chapman questioned how Robert Kissel, a New York native, could have abused his wife when he was suffering from back problems.

Nancy Kissel maintained he was still mobile, alleging that he asked her to perform oral sex on him.  "He was capable of that at any time he wanted things to happen," Kissel testified.  During the trial, Kissel has described her husband as a heavy drinking, cocaine-using workaholic who assaulted her and forced her to have rough sex.

If convicted, Kissel, who was born in Minneapolis, faces up to life in prison.


(The Standard)  Kissel lover viewed her as a 'goldmine'.  By Albert Wong.  August 10, 2005.

Realizing that 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 killed, the prosecution claimed in the High Court Tuesday.

At the same time, her lover, electrical repairman 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 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 suggested at the time she had plenty of social functions to attend. 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 were lying around the house to kill herself.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution has suggested that the accused was the primary beneficiary of the deceased's life insurance policies and estate, which Robert Kissel's sister, Jane Clayton - the first prosecution witness - estimated at US$18 million, including stocks, cash, real estate and life insurance.

Chapman, continuing his third day of cross-examination Tuesday, suggested that, by August, the accused had no intention of salvaging 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 to 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 Del Priore did not judge her by what she possessed, and accepted her as a person.

Chapman pointed out that, in September, 2003, Kissel made 52 calls to Del Priore, followed by 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 after back surgery, the accused had searched the Internet for sleeping pills, "drug overdose'' and "medication causing heart attack.'' That day, she had spoken to Del Priore for more than three hours.

She said she never talked to Del Priore about receiving the drugs, nor her thoughts of suicide.

"This man called you back, spending hours on the telephone, spending hundreds and hundreds of US dollars, which a resident of 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 believed 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.

Kissel said Tuesday she was unaware that her husband 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.

Kissel replied: "Yes, it would seem so,'' adding that she did not know why he didn't confront her.

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. She denies the charge and is out on bail.

Last week, she accepted that she inflicted the fatal wounds with a metal ornament, but said she could not remember any further details about the fight, nor her consequent actions.

Chapman suggested Tuesday 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 sneak a visit to Del Priore in Central Park.

Kissel said she did meet Del Priore for half an hour, but the purpose of the trip was to support her husband through his 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 that "he was a cripple, barely able to walk, destined for New York to have back surgery.''

Kissel replied: "That's what painkillers are for.''

Chapman pointed out that, by September, the deceased had known that Web pages for drugs had been visited, and "half jokingly'' expressed concerns for his life to his confidante. He was also said to have told his private investigator that he wondered whether his whisky was being tampered with, and that he did not trust his wife.

Chapman will continue his cross-examination today before justice Michael Lunn.


(SCMP)  Kissel made scores of calls to lover, some lasting hours, court told.  By Polly Hui.  August 10, 2005.

Nancy Kissel "shopped around for drugs" and made numerous phone calls to her lover in Vermont shortly before she killed her husband, prosecutor Peter Chapman told the Court of First Instance yesterday.

He suggested her lover, who lived in a trailer park, had treated her as a "potential gold mine".

Mr Chapman argued in his cross-examination of Kissel, 41, that she had known by September 2003 that a divorce with her banker husband, Robert Peter Kissel, was "a real possibility".  But Kissel said that was just something she burst out with when they were arguing during a session with a marriage counsellor.

Kissel admitted Robert phoned her during her stay in Vermont with her children in the summer of 2003 to tell her he knew of her affair with TV repairman Michael Del Priore.

Kissel, accused of bludgeoning her husband to death after serving him a drugged milkshake in their Parkview flat on November 2, 2003, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Mr Chapman asked if she was concerned about the evidence her husband had about her adultery and how she would fare in a divorce. "No doubt your thoughts turned to money? Another issue may have been child custody?" he asked. But Kissel said her focus had always been on her children's wellbeing and life in Hong Kong.

She said she did not know in October that Robert had discovered she had a "secret mobile phone", nor that he had spoken to his siblings, private investigators, friends and solicitors about divorce.

Referring to phone bills, Mr Chapman pointed out her calls with her lover grew more intense in September and October - 52 calls in September, 41 in the first half of October and 65 in the second half, with conversations as long as four hours. The phone calls lasted until November 1, stopped on November 2 and began again afterwards.

Mr Chapman said: "You represented a potential gold mine to him, didn't you?"

Kissel replied: "No, not at all. He had an understanding of what my life was about ... the struggle of accepting who I was. People assume people with money [are] so happy with their life ... I am tired of it."

Mr Chapman said: "This man called you back, spending hours on the telephone, and hundreds and hundreds of US dollars, which a resident of a trailer park couldn't afford? I suggest, Mrs Kissel, he considered it a good investment ... in you?"

Kissel replied: "He's someone I spoke to on a daily basis, yes ... He's someone I was able to talk to without judgment."

Mr Chapman pointed out there were seven calls between Kissel and Mr Del Priore on October 23 alone, when she said she visited doctor Annabelle Dytham to talk about her husband's alleged sexual and physical assault.

Mr Chapman: "By the time you went to Dr Dytham on October 23, you were well aware that divorce was on the cards?"

Kissel: "No. He was very clear ... with me that divorce was not a solution." She said earlier she was prescribed 10 tablets of Rohypnol on that visit.

The court heard Kissel went to the clinic on October 28 and was prescribed 20 tablets of the painkiller dextropropoxythene.

On October 30, she said she consulted a psychiatrist, identified as Dr Fong, and was prescribed Lorivan, Ambien and amitriptyline. Those three drugs, Rohypnol and Axotal were found in the stomach and liver of the deceased.

Mr Chapman: "Did you tell Dr Fong that 'I am taking Rohypnol?'"

Kissel: "I don't remember."

Mr Chapman: "You were shopping for drugs, didn't you?"

Kissel: "No."

Mr Chapman pointed out that the phone records showed she had called her lover before and after her three clinical visits. But she said she had not told him about the visits.

Kissel said she was given instructions by Dr Fong on how to take the drugs together, but she said she did not remember the instructions.

"Robert Kissel appeared to be taking them all together with two as an added bonus, didn't he?" asked Mr Chapman.

"I don't know," she replied.

Mr Chapman asked how she justified her evidence that she attempted suicide but on the same day wrote to friends about plans, including going for tea or lunch at the Mandarin Oriental.

The case continues today.


(Bloomberg)  Kissel Denies Using Daughter to Drug Banker Husband.  By Clare Cheung.  August 10, 2005.

Nancy Kissel, on trial in Hong Kong for the murder of her Merrill Lynch & Co. investment banker husband, denied using her six-year-old daughter to deliver a drug- laced milkshake to her husband before killing him.

Kissel also denied drugging her husband. She said she made the milkshakes with the younger of her two daughters, now aged eight, and the daughter of Andrew Tanzer, a neighbor who was visiting the family on the day Robert Kissel was killed.

"You used the milkshake to conceal the drugs,'' said Prosecutor Peter Chapman today in the city's High Court. "You didn't bring the milkshakes to them. You used the girls because you knew Robert Kissel wouldn't take it from you.''

The prosecution has alleged Nancy Kissel drugged her millionaire husband on Nov. 2, 2003 by lacing his milkshake with sedatives and, when he was under the influence of the drugs, she struck him with a heavy metal object. Robert Kissel, whose body was found wrapped in a carpet four days later in a storeroom near the couple's Tai Tam apartment, died of head injuries, a police statement said at the time.

Nancy Kissel -- who is pleading not guilty to one charge of murder -- was cross-examined on the details of the fight that lead to her husband's death today. She said was using a metal statue to defend herself while Robert Kissel used a baseball bat.

"It did not happen Mrs. Kissel, it just did not happen,'' Chapman said. "Those five grouped accurate fatal blows were delivered by you from above, weren't they, Mrs. Kissel?.''

Statue

Kissel replied that she was lying on the floor defending herself with the metal statue while Robert Kissel was on top of her. She claimed she had no recollection of what happened for the rest of the fight.

"You were able to deliver those accurate blows because Robert Kissel was unable to defend himself, because you had rendered him defenseless by drugging him,'' Chapman said.

"I defended myself,'' Kissel replied.

At 4.29 p.m. Chapman asked Judge Michael Lunn whether it was a convenient time to adjourn for the day. The judge was about to dismiss the jury when Kissel burst into tears and sobbed from the dock "he was going to kill me. Oh God, oh God, he was going to kill me.''

Sedatives

The prosecutor yesterday said Nancy Kissel shopped for drugs months before she allegedly laced the milkshake with sedatives, and gave it to her husband to drink on the day he died.

Four of the six drugs found in Robert Kissel's stomach were in Nancy Kissel's possession, the prosecutor said. Robert Kissel suspected the accused trying to drug him since September 2003, Chapman said.

Nancy Kissel, 41, under cross-examination by Chapman, last week admitted she killed her husband. She said the pair had a fight about getting a divorce and she threw a metal ornament at her husband when he came at her, swinging a baseball bat and threatening to kill her.

Robert Kissel wanted a divorce because he suspected his wife of having an affair, Chapman said in his opening statement on June 7.

Nancy Kissel said today she didn't tell her father about her husband's violence, the sexual abuse and his use of drugs in the five years leading to November 2003, even though she had said she kept close contact with him.

Merrill Lynch hired Kissel from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2000 to head its distressed assets business in Asia outside Japan. He was a vice president in Goldman's Asian special situations group, helping the firm become one of the biggest investors in bad debt in the region.

The case is HKSAR v. Nancy Ann Kissel, indictment no. HCCC113/2004 in the Court of First Instance of the High Court. The hearing will continue tomorrow, its 52nd day. 


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.