Nancy Kissel’s decade-long fight against charges that she murdered her Merrill Lynch & Co. banker husband ended in Hong Kong today as a three-judge panel ruled that her conviction can’t be appealed again.
The 50-year-old Michigan-born expatriate gave no visible reaction as Judge Roberto Ribeiro announced the decision by the Chinese city’s Court of Final Appeal today.
“I...I have no words,” Kissel’s mother, Jean McGlothlin, said, sobbing, when reached by phone in the U.S. after the decision. Kissel’s lawyer Colin Cohen said there was “nothing more we can do.”
Nancy Kissel has served some 10 years of a life sentence in Hong Kong for killing Robert Kissel in November 2003 at the luxury Parkview apartment where they lived with their son and two daughters. Police found her husband’s body concealed in a family storeroom, wrapped inside a sleeping bag and rolled up in a carpet four days after he was killed.
The couple moved to Hong Kong from New York in 1997 and remained when Merrill hired him in 2000 from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to head its distressed-assets business in Asia. Nancy maintained that she suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband and was depressed at the time of the killing.
Murder in Hong Kong carries a mandatory life sentence. This is reviewable by the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board after five years in jail. Murder convicts are seldom granted parole before 20-25 years of imprisonment.
Kissel won a retrial when Hong Kong’s top court found in 2010 that improper questioning and hearsay evidence tainted her original conviction. A jury unanimously found her guilty again in 2011. Prosecutors had rejected her offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter before the second trial.
At both murder trials, prosecutors said Robert’s wife obtained four types of prescription sedatives from psychiatrists, which she laced in to a milkshake served to him and a neighbor. That night, as he lay prone on their bed, she struck him in the head with an eight-pound lead ornament. She then attempted to conceal the killing, they said. Jurors in 2005 and 2011 voted unanimously to convict her.
Police, prosecutors and jurors “were not fooled by Nancy Keeshin Kissel’s fabrication of lies,” Bill Kissel, Robert’s father, said in a statement. “Justice has been served and Nancy will have a long time to contemplate her affront to her family and the world.”
Ira Keeshin, Nancy’s father, said by phone after today’s ruling that there were only two people in that bedroom that night. “Everybody lost.”
The case is Nancy Ann Kissel and HKSAR, FAMC63/2013. Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.