Robert Kissel was one of about 30,000 American expatriates who worked in Hong Kong. Robert got married to Nancy in 1989 after dating for two years. In 1997, the couple moved to Hong Kong with their three children. They lived in the prestigious apartments where other highly paid expats lived with their families. Their rocky marriage led to the murder of the husband in 2003. The subsequent trial was high profile and attracted a lot of media attention.
In mid 2003, a respiratory epidemic broke out in Hong Kong and many Americans went back home for fear of being affected. Nancy agreed to return to America with the children while her husband held on to his high flying job. It was while she was in the US that she met a man who had been contracted to rewire their home in Vermont.
The two maintained their relationship on phone and email. Robert became suspicious and hired private investigators. The detective came upon evidence of the affair but failed to produce photos of the lovers. The matter became the subject of violent arguments between Robert and his wife. These arguments piled pressure on the already troubled marriage.
One Sunday afternoon in November 2003, Nancy made her husband a strawberry milkshake. He took it and drained the glass. The drink was laced with a cocktail of sedatives. When these drugs took effect on Robert, his wife struck him several times on the head till he died. She was all alone in the house at that time. She rolled the body in a carpet which was later taken to a storeroom in another part of the complex.
The failure of Robert to show up in the office raised the alarm. The police were alerted by his office and immediately swung into action. Different people including the workers at the complex were interrogated. The questioning led to the discovery of the body in the storeroom. The body had already started to rot meaning that the murder had occurred several days before the body was discovered.
The discovery of the body led to the arrest of Nancy who initially denied having killed her husband. Later during cross examination she agreed to the charge but said she did it to protect herself. She informed the court of how her husband continuously raped and sodomized her since they came to Hong Kong in 1997. She disclosed that Robert had started to use cocaine besides his excessive drinking habit.
Her trial commenced in June 2005 and continued over the next two months. At the end of the trial, the seven member jury unanimously found her guilty of the murder. At the beginning of September 2005, Mrs. Kissel was sentenced to life in prison. Her defense team unsuccessfully appealed against the ruling in April 2008.
In January 2010 Mrs. Kissel appealed again, this time in the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. The appeal was brought before a team of five judges led by the Chief Justice of that time. The initial ruling was overturned and a fresh trial was ordered. 50 defense and prosecution witnesses were produced in court and Nancy was sentenced to life in prison once more.
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