Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Andrew Kissel


Hayley Kissel
Hayley Kissel

In almost all murder cases, the spouse of the victim is automatically considered a person of interest, and in the case of Andrew Kissel's murder, his estranged wife did little to hide her animosity toward him.  By the time Hayley Kissel had filed for divorce in early 2005, she was totally fed up with him.  The moving men who had overheard the Kissels' heated argument days before the murder could attest to her feelings about Andrew.  The fact that she had gone to court to remove him from the rented house just a few days before he would be going away to prison shows just how bitter she was.  As Andrew Kissel's divorce lawyer, Howard Garber, told The Advocate, "By the time the motion was heard, she would have, at best, had possession of the home for three or four days."

In a revealing email message that Hayley Kissel had sent to her sister-in-law, Jane, on May 22, 2005, Hayley vented her frustrations.  "GOD I HATE YOUR BROTHER," the message began.

Despite their haggling over Robert's children, Hayley considered Jane her confidante.  Hayley, who had once been a mogul skiing champion, had been Jane's skiing coach in Vermont when she was a girl.  Andrew, Robert, and Jane loved to ski when they were kids, and Andrew's father had bought a vacation home in Stratton Mountain, Vermont, to accommodate their passion for the slopes.  Jane had introduced Andrew to Hayley when she was taking lessons.  Jane and Hayley had remained close over the years.

In that same email Hayley wrote to Jane, "Do you know last night in bed, I could actually see myself pummeling him to death and just enjoying the sensation of each and every shot and then this morning as I pulled out of the garage... all I wanted to do was crash into his Ferraris."

She was particularly irked by a pole that Andrew had installed in the garage to protect his precious vintage cars.  "Do you know that I intentionally bang into the thing every time I park in the garage as an act of defiance?" she wrote.

In the email she characterized her husband as "an awful awful pathetic person."

But despite evidence of her hatred for her husband, authorities have not pursued Hayley Kissel as a suspect.  The circumstances of his death are not consistent with a crime of passion.  The murder appears to have been planned rather than a heat-of-the-moment event.

"Who would do a thing like this so brutally?" Andrew's father, William Kissel, told The Advocate.  "Somebody had to be very angry at him.  If somebody wanted to kill him they had to put a bullet in his head, not tie him up and stab him to death with a shirt over his head."

With no signs of forced entry at the house, the possibility of a robbery gone wrong has been ruled out.   Andrew Kissel must have known his killers and let them in.  Greenwich Police Chief James Walters says that Andrew was "the intended target of the assault."

Police Chief James Walters
Police Chief James Walters

Professor Larry Kobolinsky of John Jay College of Criminal Justice says that Kissel's murder "bears the hallmarks of a personal vendetta."  He told The Advocate that the killer or killers were either "seeking information" or trying to "teach him a long lesson."

Former Stamford detective Vito Colucci told The Advocate that Andrew Kissel's murder is "not your typical contract killing where you give a guy a shot."  He suggested that one of Kissel's enemies might have hired a hit man to make him suffer in death as punishment.  

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