Image: Nancy Ann Kissel.
Vincent Yu  /  AP file
American Nancy Ann Kissel, 40, right, walks out of Hong Kong's High Court on Tuesday.
updated 6/8/2005 7:24:07 AM ET 2005-06-08T11:24:07

A Hong Kong court on Wednesday heard a second day of opening statements in the murder trial of an American woman accused of giving her husband a sedatives-laced milkshake before beating him to death with a heavy metal ornament.

Nancy Ann Kissel, 40, has pleaded innocent in the 2003 death of Robert Kissel, who was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch.

Prosecutors allege she was having an affair, her marriage was crumbling and that the killing was premeditated murder, a crime punishable by life in prison.

The defendant listened with a blank expression during two hours of opening statements on Tuesday. Prosecutor Peter Chapman continued with his opening statement Wednesday.

He told the jury that the woman had an affair with a TV repairman in Vermont, where she lived briefly with her three children during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in Hong Kong in 2003.

Divorce planned
The prosecutor said investment banker Robert Kissel, a native of New York, hired a private detective in the United States to check on his wife and confirmed the affair. He later consulted family lawyers and planned to divorce his wife, Chapman said.

Chapman said Kissel told a friend that he feared his wife might use drugs to poison him.

The prosecutor also read love letters reportedly sent by the alleged lover, Michael Del Priore, after Mrs. Kissel returned to Hong Kong. “I miss holding you and hearing you call my name,” one letter said.

Chapman said the woman was the primary beneficiary of five life insurance policies owned by her husband worth a total of $6.75 million.

Chapman said the woman laced her husband’s milkshake with sedatives before killing him with a series of blows to the right side of his head in November 2003. Police found his body wrapped in plastic sheets and a carpet in an underground storeroom the couple rented near their luxury apartment.

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