Nancy Kissel’s retrial for the murder of her Merrill Lynch & Co. banker husband was adjourned today after she screamed repeatedly and said she could “see” him while being cross-examined by the prosecution.
Judge Andrew Macrae called a recess before adjourning the hearing an hour early. Kissel stood up as she wailed in the direction of the jury before being restrained by three female prison officers, and consoled by one of her lawyers Amanda Clift-Matthews and her mother, Jean McGlothlin.
Prosecution lawyer David Perry was asking Kissel if she lied about the state of her marriage or if her allegations of abuse were lies. He showed her photos from a family vacation one year before the killing, and asked whether she had been “acting all the time.”
The Michigan-born mother of three took the stand earlier this week and told jurors she had been physically and sexually abused by Robert Kissel before she killed him on Nov. 2, 2003.
Perry put to Kissel that she hadn’t told anyone her husband drank excessively or forced her to have anal sex until she was charged with his murder in November 2003.
“There were things that my husband did that I knew weren’t right but I compromised,” Kissel replied, sobbing. She tearfully referred to an injury to her face that she couldn’t tell anyone about, to which Perry said, “Mrs. Kissel, you didn’t tell anyone because it was untrue.”
The defendant began to scream on the stand and ignored Macrae’s attempts to address her.
‘I Can See Him’
“I can see him. He’s on the floor,” Kissel told Clift-Matthews, pointing.
The judge vacated the court and allowed Kissel’s mother and lawyers to console her. He then ordered an adjournment until Monday.
Prosecutors have rejected Kissel’s guilty plea to manslaughter and allege she planned his drugging and bludgeoning to death. Her defense has argued she suffered from mental disorders and was provoked into the killing.
Kissel testified earlier today that on the night of the killing, her husband told her he had filed for divorce, that he had told lawyers there was something wrong with her and that he’d take the children. She also said he had a baseball bat.
“He was leaning on it and tossing it up in the air.” Kissel said she didn’t understand why he had the bat, and picked up the lead ornament from the dining room before walking towards him and into the bedroom.
She said that he then forcibly had anal sex with her, during which she reached for the ornament and swung it backwards to strike him in the forehead.
Her husband then said he was going to kill her, she told the jury in response to questions from another of her lawyers Edward Fitzgerald.
“I just kept swinging,” she said, without describing the sequence of events in more detail.
The case is HKSAR v. Nancy Ann Kissel, HCCC55/2010 in Hong Kong’s High Court of First Instance.