US woman testifies at her Hong Kong murder retrial

An American woman accused of drugging and bashing her husband to death in Hong Kong seven years ago started testifying at her retrial Tuesday after her attorneys said they planned to show she was depressed.

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2011, 16:28 PM IST

Hong Kong: An American woman accused of drugging and bashing her husband to death in Hong Kong seven years ago started testifying at her retrial Tuesday after her attorneys said they planned to show she was depressed and could not plan a murder.

Lawyers for Nancy Kissel told a jury in Hong Kong`s High Court Tuesday that they planned to show that she was suffering from clinical depression and was acting under diminished responsibility when she was provoked by her husband into the attack.

A frail Kissel, who has pleaded innocent to the charge of murder, answered questions about her early life and marriage to Robert Kissel before court adjourned for midday.
Kissel`s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, told the jury earlier Tuesday that he planned to use testimony from Kissel as well as medical experts to rebut the prosecution`s case that the killing was a carefully planned murder that she methodically tried to cover up.

"This is not a case of rational killing," he said.

Prosecutors say Kissel drugged her husband with a sedative-laced milkshake and then bludgeoned him with a metal ornament. Kissel said in the first trial that she killed him in self-defense after he attacked her with a baseball bat and tried to rape her.

The conviction and mandatory life sentence Nancy Kissel was issued in 2005 was overturned last year because prosecutors improperly cross-examined her and the judge allowed hearsay evidence.

In opening statements last month, prosecutor David Perry revisited the gruesome details of Robert Kissel`s death. Kissel delivered at least five blows to her husband`s head while he was lying face down in the bedroom, subdued by a mix of six drugs, Perry said. She then covered the body with a plastic bag and towels and wrapped it in a carpet, then had it moved to storage, he said.

The first trial against Nancy Kissel, a 47-year-old native of Adrian, Michigan, grabbed worldwide attention with juicy details on the breakdown of a wealthy expatriate marriage in this southern Chinese financial hub. It spawned two books and a TV special.

PTI