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11 Years On, Nancy Kissel Has No Regrets over Killing Banker Husband

Nancy Kissel

Eleven years into her life sentence for killing her banker husband Robert in Hong Kong, Nancy Kissel told Bloomberg she does not feel regret, but added, “I can’t spend my time explaining the unexplainable. I can’t undo something I never understood.”

The couple moved from New York to Hong Kong when Robert Kissel took the position of manager of distressed asset deals for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. While materially their assets were far from distressed, with a 20, 000 a month ocean view apartment and a life of luxury, their marriage, according to Nancy, was in turmoil.

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Nancy Kissel gave the interview from a maximum security prison through an intercom. During the conversation she was often coherent, but sometimes would break into song and then speak incomprehensibly. According to the story, she gave Robert a milkshake with sedatives before bludgeoning him to death and hiding his body in a carpet while disposing of other bloody remains in packing boxes. Robert’s colleague filed a missing persons report in 2003.

Nancy insisted during her trial she was acting in self defense after years of physical and sexual abuse. Friends reported that they did see bruises on her and her defense rested on her claim she had battered woman’s syndrome. What complicated matters was the revelation that she had been having an affair with an electrician who had fixed their family home in Vermont.

At age 50 and a mother of three, she speaks glowingly about her children, although they were sent to America to live with relatives and she hardly sees them. When she is asked why she didn’t take Robert up on his offer for a divorce given on the night of his death, Nancy trembled and said pretending to be brave doesn’t always work. “You need to find your identity, and I’m still trying. Hiding behind luxury is easy. That way no one has to ask if everything is alright. And no one ever did.”

While the Hong Kong courts have said they won’t shorten the life sentence, the case is likely to be reviewed every few years. There is a possibility her sentence could be shorted to 20-25 years. In the meantime, she says she does her own repentance and asks for peace, “That is very different from regret.”




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