Nancy Kissel pleaded not guilty to murdering her banker husband – a former Merrill Lynch executive – today, in a Hong Kong court.
The 46-year-old is being re-tried for the sordid murder of her husband Robert in 2003, Bloomberg reports, for which she was found guilty orginally in 2005.
Robert Kissell, who was then head of Merrill’s distressed debt business in Asia, was found wrapped in a carpet and plastic sheets in boxes in a storeroom near the couple’s apartment days after he had been killed.
It turned out he had drunk a milkshake laced with sedatives – medication that had been prescribed to Nancy – and then had his skull smashed into his brain “with a heavy lead ornament.”
Hence the scandal became known as the “milkshake murder.”
The day before Robert’s body was found, Nancy filed a police report saying he had assaulted her.
Through the course of the first trial Nancy admitted to having killed her husband with a lead figurine out of self-defence, because she says he had threatened her with a baseball bat. She was found guilty in 2005 but then a final appeal found that improper questioning and hearsay evidence tainted her conviction, so that’s why she’s being retried.
Nancy’s lawyer said Kissel should she face a lesser charge of manslaughter because she was provoked and also because of “diminished responsibility” – ie. she was temporarily crazy.
The couple, who had three kids together, moved from New York to Hong Kong in 1998. At the time Robert was co-head of Goldman Sachs’ Asian special situations group. He decamped to Merrill in 2000.
Kissell previously accused her late husband of having an alcohol and cocaine addiction – accusations that were denied by friends who he worked with at Merrill Lynch and Goldman. She also claimed that her husband had “frequently coerced [her] into having painful anal sex for five years before his death, and was trying to do so again at the time she killed him.”
She also admitted to having had an affair with a TV repairman in Vermont and prosecutors claimed Nancy had killed Robert so she could obtain his $18 million in life insurance and other assets and move back to the U.S to live with her lover.