Hong Kongs highest court overturns Kissels murder conviction, order retrial

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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HONG KONG - Hong Kong's highest court overturned Nancy Kissel's murder conviction in a stunning reversal Thursday and ordered that the American expatriate be retried for allegedly drugging her husband with a laced milkshake and bludgeoning him to death.
Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal found in its 111-page decision that prosecutors had used illegal evidence in the trial, but ordered that the 45-year-old mother of two be kept in custody pending a bail application ahead of her second trial.
Kissel, who had lost her first appeal against her conviction, smiled broadly when Chief Justice Andrew Li announced the ruling.
A friend of Kissel, Nancy Nassberg, told reporters that the defendant was "elated." She said Kissel's parents were unable to travel from the U.S. for the hearing but that they had been notified of the result.
"I'm proud, very proud of Nancy. She was a good wife. She is a great mother, a great daughter, a great sister and a great friend," Nassberg told reporters. "We think justice is served."
Kissel's lawyers argued during the appeal hearing that prosecutors broke the law by using evidence during the murder trial that drew from the American's initial bail hearing after she was charged. The five judges from the Court of Final Appeal agreed.
"It is plainly in the interests of justice that there should be a retrial," they said.
The American has been serving a life sentence since she was convicted in September 2005.
Kissel's sensational trial made headlines worldwide with its allegations of drug abuse, kinky sex and adultery in the wealthy world of expatriates in this Asian financial hub.
Kissel admitted bashing her husband, Robert, in the head in self-defence as he was threatening her with a baseball bat in a quarrel. She described the 40-year-old investment banker for Merrill Lynch as an erratic, whiskey-swilling workaholic who also snorted cocaine and forced her to have painful anal sex.
Kissel was born in Adrian, Michigan, but her family had also lived in Minneapolis.
22:45ET 10-02-10

Organizations: Merrill Lynch

Geographic location: HONG KONG, U.S., Adrian, Michigan Minneapolis

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