Sunday, August 07, 2005

Dirty Laundry
More unedited Kissel copy (a weekly recap for our Monday paper) for those who care. I know I do. Deeply. It's better than cable.
Accused murderer Nancy Kissel, who accepted last Thursday that she had used a heavy metal ornament to inflict the fatal injuries to her husband's head on November 2, 2003, faces another grilling cross-examination today.
In the trial's most dramatic week of proceedings, day after day the court heard new claims about the deceased's character, adding to the twist of the murder case which has already heard a history of, gay porn, sex, lies, love and betrayal. Beginning with the claims that the former Merrill Lynch banker, Robert Kissel, was a controlling and abusive husband who demanded to be shown respect during acts of sodomy, last week's proceedings concluded with his wife admitting that she killed her husband.
Kissel, 41, is accused of serving her husband a pink milkshake laced with sedatives which left him unconscious at the foot of the bed as she bludgeoned him to death with a heavy metal ornament. She testified on Wednesday that on that fatal Halloween weekend, there had been an argument about divorce, which escalated into a furious struggle between her husband wielding a baseball bat, and herself with the metal ornament.
In resisting more sexual abuse, she knocked her husband on the head. After realising he was bleeding, her husband came at her, swinging the baseball bat, saying repeatedly ``I'm going to kill you, you bitch,'' said the accused.
In relation to the milkshake, alleged to have been laced with sedatives, she said she had made it for her children and would never harm children.
When asked by her counsel, Alexander King, SC, whether she could recall how her husband ended up with five fatal wounds to his skull, she sat in her witness box, shaking, without reply.
Later Thursday, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Peter Chapman opened his cross-examination, asking, ``do you accept that you killed Robert Kissel?''
The accused replied ``yes,'' and confirmed that she had used the metal ornament, the alleged murder weapon, to inflict the wounds. Chapman then proceeded with his questioning of Robert Kissel's alleged five-year history of alcohol and drug-fuelled acts of forceful sodomy on his wife.
Monday, the court heard that the former banker's success in the banking world changed him into a power-crazed, controlling workaholic who used cocaine to increase productivity.
But ``the hours took its toll,'' said the accused, and by the time he came to Hong Kong, his mood swings and demand for undisputed respect, resulted in him hitting his wife on several occasions.
Sex became ``predominantly oral sex for him and anal sex for me,'' she said. Once, as she resisted being flipped around into a position to facilitate his sexual preference, she said she ``heard something pop'' and later realised she had fractured a rib.
When her husband found out that the birth of their third child, their first son, would clash with an important business trip in Korea, he lost his temper and hit his wife, she claimed.
At the same time, the banker ``eventually came to love single malt whisky. It became his drink,'' said the accused. The stress and long hours of his work would result in drinking and cocaine use at night.
But instead of shying away, ``it's what made him tick -- the power of it all, succeeding.''
Financially, he also became more controlling, subjecting her decorating duties on their luxury house in Vermont to methodical financial scrutiny, she claimed. In Hong Kong, he ``condensed'' her spending, reducing her five credit cards to one.
``He wanted a better control over what I was spending. It's easier to look at one statement than five,'' she said.
Tuesday, she said that the words, ``Sleeping pills, Drug Overdose, Medication Causing heart attack,'' which were found to have been typed on her computer in late August, 2003, were a result of her suicidal thoughts.
She said that she had sought ways to induce a heart attack for the protection of children as she ``wouldn't want my children to be affected -- of going through the knowledge of their mother committing suicide,'' she said.
She also said on Tuesday, that she had a relationship with Michael Del Priore, who helped ``wire up'' their house in Vermont, which involved three sexual encounters around July.
Del Priore's openness and willingness to hear her speak about the burden of being a corporate banker's wife effectively bringing up three children on her own caused her to break down in tears.
``It was the first time anybody ever stepped forward and confronted me on an issue that scares a lot of people. People look at you and see change and they don't really want to know,'' said the accused. Consequently, they kept up a relationship for the next few months, communicating through letters and phone calls.
Wednesday, the accused described her version of events on November 2, 2003, the day she killed her husband. She said her recollection of that day was ``patchy.''
In the afternoon she remembers a chaotic scene in the kitchen as the children all helped with the making of milkshakes. Since it had just been Halloween, they decided to add red food colouring to the milkshake to make it ``Halloweeny.''
Once the children had left leaving, an argument began about divorce, said the accused. Seeing that her husband was holding onto a baseball bat, she picked up a metal ornament as she went to the doorway to confront him, she said. Her waving a finger at her husband angered him, who hit her and dragged her into the bedroom, trying to sexually abuse her, said the accused.
As she was trying to crawl away, she swung the ornament behind her, without looking. ``I felt that I hit something, and he let go,'' she said.
When the banker realised his head was bleeding, he said ``I'm going to fucking kill you'' and started swinging his baseball bat, hitting the metal ornament as she raised it in front of her face.
But then? ``I don't remember,'' she said.
Thursday, she also told the court that she could not remember any of the events in the days after she killed her husband, which the prosecution alleged were part of her attempted cover-up.
Chapman then proceeded on asking for details of the banker's alleged history of alcohol and drug-fuelled sexual abuse, such as where he got his drugs from, how much was he spending, the frequency and injuries the accused sustained during the abuse, and why the risk of Aids, given his frequent travels, had not been considered.
Chapman continues with his questioning today, before Justice Michael Lunn.
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