East Week on the Nancy Kissel Case
In the South China Morning Post on September 5, 2005, Barclay Crawford wrote:
But apart from the prosecutor's opening, the first day of the defence and some evidence, much of this international interest has not been reflected in the highly competitive Chinese-language press. Reporters from many of the city's top dailies said they were "frustrated" at the lack of interest shown in their work by their editors.
There are numerous other factors beyond just the lack of interest from the editors. For one thing, the strength of the Chinese-language press is their ability to relentless ferret out exclusive details. While the trial was going on, the press could report only the court proceedings which were not exclusive to anyone. The press might have been able to talk to minor witnesses for impressions and details, but it would be prejudicial to the case if published while the trial was going on.
Anyway, now that the trial is over, East Week has a 5 page article in Issue 106 (September 7, 2005). East Week belongs to the Sing Tao group, along with The Standard and therefore it relies heavily on what was already published in The Standard. I remind the reader that East Week does not have a good reputation with respect to accuracy and reliability.
There is not necessarily any shocking new information. However, by shining the light on Michael Del Priore, it may answer one question: Why was he not called to testify at the trial? Well, that decision would be up to the defense, the prosecution and Michael Del Priore himself.
The defense may not see the presence of Michael Del Priore to be helpful. First and foremost, this puts a human face on the lover of Nancy Kissel. He may be forced to disclose details about their affair. Besides, much of what he knows is 'hearsay' evidence. For the first two days after the incident, the mobile phone records showed a total of six calls from Nancy Kissel to Michael Del Priore totaling more than one hour. A question to Michael Del Priore such as "Was Nancy upset?" may be inadmissible. It is hearsay because he does not know for sure; he can answer "She said that she was upset" but he does not know for sure what her true state of mind is and that is why it is only hearsay. In any case, the defense might consider the risks to outweigh the benefits for this potential witness.
The prosecutor did not call Michael Del Priore. According to the East Week article, Michael Del Priore is what is known as a "person of interest." In that peculiar indirect language, the possibility that others may be arrested in the case cannot be excluded.
As for Michael Del Priore, he probably senses that he might be a person of interest. If he had any brains, he would have held up the Fifth Amendment of the United States, knowing full well that anything that he says can be and will be used against him, whether he is innocent or guilty.
Evil Foreign Woman Murders Husband; Lover Scotfree In America
41-year-old American woman Nancy Kissel was married to multi-millionaire Robert Kissel, a managing director at Merrill Lynch. While people admire her happy family and luxurious lifestyle, Nancy was having an extramarital affair with a television repairman in the United States.
When her husband found out about the adulterous affair, he demanded a divorce. Nancy saw that her luxurious lifestyle was slipping away. It is believed that her lover persuaded her to kill her husband and get his fortune. In order to get away with the crime, Nancy even lied in court about being beaten by her husband and forced to have anal sex.
Last Thursday (September 1), Nancy was found guilty of murdering her husband in High Court and sentenced to life in prison. But her lover is still free and enjoying a high life with another woman.
But a case investigator said that there is still more to come in this extraodinary case.
In the case of Robert Kissel being murdered in Parkview by his wife Nancy, the prosecutor clearly stated in his summation that the accused was persuaded by her lover "to eliminate a roadblock in her life" and therefore committed the murder. The chief case investigator is Ng Yeung-yuen, chief criminal inspector of the Hong Kong Western district, said that although the main culprit in the case has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the investigation has not ended. The possibility that more arrests will be made cannot be excluded.
The additional person indicated by the police is believed to refer to Nancy Kissel's lover, 41-year-old Michael Del Priore.
"According to the telephone records, both before and after the murder, Nancy and her lover had frequent contacts. From September to October, a total of 158 calls were made. The most suspicious were that during the two days after the murder, there were six calls to her lover for totaling more than one hour." That was what an investigator in the case said. If sufficient evidence is gathered, the Hong Kong police will go through the Interpol to arrest Michael Del Priore, who is presently in the United States.
The deceased father William Kissel who had been in attendance at the court and who gets angry at the mention of the name Michael Del Priore said: "Nancy had an affair and ruined this happy family, and so she deserves it. But she would not have gone so far as murdering her husband. Obviously, someone taught her how to do it. That is an evil person whom the police must go after."
Michael Del Priore lives in the Stratton area in the state of Vermont, USA. In 2000, Michael installed television antennae at the Kissels' vacation home and got to know Nancy.
Michael's younger brother Lance Del Priore was quite angry with what his brother did. "Michael used to be a television repairman at my electronic maintenance company. I found out about his adulterous affair with Nancy in September 2003. I told him to stop and not to break up someone else's family. But he refused to listen. Instead, he wore the US$5,000 watch that Nancy gave him around town and told everyone that he is getting it on with Nancy. He does not love Nancy. He only thinks of her as a gold mine! I was so mad at him that I fired him and kicked him out."
Lance said that Michael was tall and handsome with attractive blue eyes. The ladies like him and he has lots of romances. When Michael was just past 20, he got married with his high school sweetheart and fathered two children. In 1993, he dumped his wife to pursue an eighteen year old. One year later, he left this girlfriend for a 17-year-old. They lived together and got married in 1997 and had a daughter. Although Michael has three children, he continued to have romances.
In 2000, he hooked onto the married Nancy Kissel. In January 2003, he divorced his wife in order to win this rich woman who can "lay golden eggs."
Lance has no information about Michael for some time. He only knows that after Michael was fired, he had a small business nearby selling security systems. After the Nancy Kissel murder case broke, Michael did not concern himself about that and found a new lover. He is presently living with a blonde woman who drives a sports car.
"I remembered clearly that after Robert Kissel died, his older brother called me and said loudly, 'Your brother killed my brother!' Lance said that he knew the Kissel brothers well. He had arranged for Michael to install the antennae, but he had no idea this would lead to an adulterous affair. Worse yet, Robert Kissel would be murdered and he felt very sorry.
At the start of 2000, Robert Kissel purchased a large vacation house in the skiing area of Stratton in Vermont. Our reporter went to Stratton but could not find the Kissel house. According to a gardener: "Everybody knows that Mr. Kissel was murdered by his wife. The house was on sale, but they didn't want anyone to know that the previous owner had been murdered. Therefore, they kept changing the address. The lastest address is number one. You can go and take a look."
The house looked the same. There are only a few pieces of simple furniture left and the yard lacked maintenance. According to Jerry B. Little, the owner of a real estate company, the house was built in 1991. In 2000, Robert Kissel bought it for almost US$2 million. After the murder, the Kissel family tried to sell it for US$1.95 million. Finally, on July 5, someone bought it for the low price of US$1.46 million.
According to a worker in the vacation area, whenever there was a long vacation, there were sounds of happiness from the Kissel house. Ever since the female household head hooked on with the television repairman, the sounds of happiness vanished.
Nancy loved to do love-talk with Michael via email. She often mentioned that her husband only cared about working and left her lonely by herself. She had mentioned in an email: "In Hong Kong, people only looked at how you dress, the size of your diamond ring, the brand of your car, but only you are the only one who unconditionally cares about me and supports me."
Their love notes were discovered by Robert Kissel at the end of 2002. So Robert hired a private detective to follow his wife and confirmed that she was having an affair. But Robert kept quiet.
In March 2003, the SARS epidemic broke out in Hong Kong. Nancy took her three children to the house in Vermont ostensibly to escape the SARS epidemic. Actually, she wanted more opportunities to meet with Micahel. On one day when Michael brought his 4-year-old daughter to visit, he had sexual intercourse with Nancy three times in the house.
Three months later, Nancy returned to Hong Kong. Her husband found eight letters from her lover, including some that were very explicit.
"Nancy ... I miss you very much. Michael"
"Can you guess what my favorite position is?"
"Baby, I am going crazy thinking about you ..."
"I like you calling my name. I melt."
Robert cold not take it any more and confronted Nancy. She promised that she will never contact Michael again, but Robert found more e-mails. So Robert gave up and told his friends that he has decided to get a divorce.
Nancy then knew that the marriage was hopeless. She also knew that her husband has evidence of her adulterous affairs, and therefore she could not expect to get a huge alimony. Seeing that her riches were about to vanish and being egged on, Nancy turned murderous.
In October of that year, Nancy went to see a psychiatrist and claimed that she did not get along with her husband, that they quarreled often and that she could not sleep at night. Therefore, she was able to obtain several kinds of sedatives. On the morning of November 2, Nancy went out shopping and met the Parkview neighbor Andrew Tauzer. She gave him a ride and invited him to their home.
Robert had just woken up and came out to speak to the guest. Meanwhile Nancy went into the kitchen and made a strawberry milkshake with the sedatives. She then asked her daughter to bring it out for the two men to 'enjoy.' When the neighbor got home, he passed out and slept a whole day.
After the neighbor left, Robert declared to his wife: "I have filed the papers for a divorce. The children will be with me. That is the decision. I told the lawyer that you are unsuitable to take care of the children."
After saying that, Robert began to feel sleepy from the drugs and went back into the bedroom to sleep. More than an hour later, Nancy came in and closed the door. She saw that her husband was still asleep. So she picked up a metal ornament, aimed at his head and smashed his head five times with all her might. Blood and brain materials splattered out and Robert was dead.
The next day, Nancy coolly went out to purchase a carpet, bed sheets and paper boxes to "mop up." She asked the Filipina maid and four building workers to take the carpet containing the body into the storage room that she rented in the next building.
Then she went to see a psychiatrist and cried that she had been beaten by her hustand and quite distraught. Four days later, Nancy called the police and said that her husband had disappeared after assaulting her. She thought everything was perfect.
But before receiving Nancy's report, the police had already received a report from Robert's colleagues who said that he had been missing for days. The Filipina maids also suspected that Robert had been murdered. Therefore, the police showed up at the Kissel home to investigate and then they found Robert's body in the storage room. They took Nancy back to the police station and they formally arrested her the next day.
The deceased Robert Kissel is well known in the financial sector in Hong Kong. He is a well-known investment banker, specializing in corporate debt restructuring. His colleagues describe him as a natural-born workaholic who can keep a sharp mind even after working all night. Privately, he was friendly and gentle, and a family-loving man.
(Above) Robert Kissel with his first girlfriend Carol at a dance
He was born in a well-off Jewish family. His great-grandfather was a member of the guard to the Austrian-Hungarian royal family. His father is a university chemistry professor. In 1987, he met Nancy on a Caribbean vacation and they got married two years later. At first, Robert helped his father-in-law at the printing company.
A year later, Robert decided to enter the MBA program at New York University because he wanted to start his own career. Nancy supported her husband's decision and worked three jobs to support the famly. When Robert graduated, he went to work in equity companies and his career rose.
In 1997, he was hired by Goldman Sachs as a mutual fund manager and sent out to Hong Kong. Three years later, due to his excellent work, he was hired by Merrill Lynch. The 37-year-old Robert Kissel became the managing director of global principal investments, making as much as HK$17 million per year in salary and bonuses.
Robert loved Nancy a lot. In 1997, he purchased three insurance policies worth HK$50 million naming her as the beneficiary. In March of the following year, he wrote a will in which he left his HK$100 million assets included real estates, stocks and savings to his wife and children, and Nancy had the largest share.
Unfortunately, Nancy did not treasure this piece of hard-earned happiness. Instead, she had an extramarital affair and she even committed murder for profit, and gave away her life as a result!
After Nancy was arrested, she refused to cooperate with the police investigation. She refused to answer any questions and said that she had a memory problem and cannot remember anything that had happened. Yet, as the trial opened, she suddenly recovered 'partial memory' and claimed that her husband was a drug addict and alcohol abuser. For five years, she had to put up with beatings and sexual tortures by her husband. On the day of the incident, her husband beat her with a baseball bat and threated to rape her anally, and she killed him in self-defense.
A detective said: "She said that her husband beat her for five years, but none of the Filipina maids ever saw anything like that. None of Nancy's personal friends and relatives have ever heard her complain. Furthermore, the deceased only had fatal wounds on his head and there were no other signs of a fight. Everybody can tell that she is lying!"
Murdering her husband and then pretending memory loss appear to be exactly what was described in the novel Motion To Suppress by American author Perri O'Shaughnessy.
In that novel, the female character was a bar waitress. She could not stand her husband who was often drunk and abusive. So she made a drugged milkshake to knock him out and then killed him husband with a metallic object. Afterwards, she pretended to have memory loss and said that she could not remember anything about killing her husband.
The Battle Over The Three Children
Robert Kissel has assets of over HK$140 million. He had three insurance policies totaling HK$50 million with Nancy Kissel as the beneficiary. According to insurance company policy, Nancy Kissel caused Robert's death and therefore lost the right to benefit. But the insurance company will pay out the HK$50 million to the estate of Robert Kissel and then distributed to the legal heirs (the two girls and one boy).
Perhaps due to this huge estate, the three Kissel children are the object of a custody fight between their paternal grandfather and their maternal grandmother.
Since the murder, the three children have lived at the New Jersey home of their uncle. Unfortunately, the uncle was recently arrested for financial fraud by American federal agents. The maternal grandmother has filed to get custody back from the Kissels.
Related Link: The Complete Nancy Kissel File