Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Nancy Kissel: The Hong Kong Milkshake Murder

'I Still Love Him Deeply'

The prosecution's cross-examination of Nancy Kissel began with one simple question:  "Do you accept that you killed Robert Kissel?" prosecutor Peter Chapman asked.

"Yes," Nancy Kissel said.

"Did you further cause the injuries on Robert Kissel with the metallic ornament?"

"Yes," she replied.

During Chapman's cross-examination, which went on for five days, Nancy Kissel insisted that her memory of the events surrounding her husband's death remained "patchy" and that she had repressed them for months even though she had no history of memory loss. 

Chapman asked if she had ever told anyone about her husband's alleged sexual assaults on her. 

"No," she said.  It was "not something you talk about to the girls."

Chapman asked if she ever screamed during the bouts of rough sex with her husband.

"Did I scream out?" she said.  "I may have."

Chapman asked if anyone ever heard her.

"I don't know. A lot of the time I was facing down."

"Have you ever been examined in relation to the results of forceful anal sex?" Chapman asked.

"No.  It's humiliating," she said.

When asked if she had sent her daughter to deliver the tainted milkshake to her husband, she adamantly denied involving her daughter in any such thing, adding that the children were out of the house when the fatal argument began.   

Chapman explored Nancy Kissel's allegation that her husband had broken their younger daughter's arm after the child had made noise while he was on the phone.  Previously the Kissels' maid, Conchita "Connie" Pee Macaraeg, had testified that the little girl had broken her arm while playing with her older sister.  "Who's making up the story," Chapman asked, "you or Connie?"

Conchita Pee Macaraeg
Conchita Pee Macaraeg

When Chapman suggested that Nancy Kissel was simply trying to smear her husband's name, the defendant became visibly upset, saying that as much as her husband's behavior scared her, she felt helpless to do anything about it.  "If it weren't for those things, I would still be with him," she said with tears streaming down her face.  "I still love him deeply."

Kissel went on to explain that the family was in chaos on the day that her daughter was injured, so she and her maid might have seen things differently.

Under Chapman's questioning, Kissel admitted that on August 3, 2003, she had flown to New York from Hong Kong with her husband who was scheduled to undergo back surgery in Manhattan.  While he was in the operating room, Nancy met her lover Michael Del Priore in Central Park for an hour and a half. 

Michael Del Priore
Michael Del Priore

Chapman then asked her about her phone records, which indicated that she had made 52 phone calls to Del Priore in September 2003 and 106 in October of that year.  On the day that she had obtained a prescription for the potent "date-rape drug" Rohypnol, she had called Del Priore seven times.

Chapman pointed out that she had called Del Priore at 7:41 a.m. on the morning after her husband's death and spoke to him for 24 minutes.  "By this time," Chapman said, "you're unlikely to need a sympathetic ear about an abusive husband."

Kissel replied that she and Del Priore discussed many issues during that conversation.

Chapman then asked if she had informed Del Priore that she had "solved the problem" regarding her husband.

Kissel said that she couldn't remember.

Phone company records showed that on November 4, 2003, Nancy Kissel called Del Priore six times, Chapman said.  This was the day that she went to her doctor and complained of "total body pain," though she never mentioned anything about sodomy or a baseball bat.  Dr. Annabelle Dytham would later testify that Kissel's "pained reactions were disproportionate to the actual injury" she found.  Closed-circuit security video presented in court showed Nancy Kissel on the morning after the alleged beating carrying a suitcase, shopping bags, and the rug used to wrap her husband's body. 

Chapman finally brought up Nancy Kissel's version of the physical confrontation with her husband on Sunday, November 2, 2003, and asked how she had managed to defend herself with the metal figurine.

"I don't know," Kissel replied.

"Because it didn't happen, Mrs. Kissel," Chapman shot back.  "It just didn't happen."

The accused cried out, "He was going to kill me!  He was going to kill me!  Oh, God, he was going to kill me!"

With that, Chapman concluded his cross-examination.


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