Self Defense Claimed In "Milkshake Murder"

American Nancy Kissel walks out of Hong Kong's High Court in this Aug. 2, 2005 file photo. Kissel, serving a life term in Hong Kong will return to court Monday, April 14, 2008 to appeal her sentence for bashing her banker husband to death after spiking his milkshake with sedatives four and a half years ago.
AP Photo
An American woman who gave her husband a strawberry milkshake spiked with drugs before beating him to death was only trying to defend herself from the baseball bat-wielding man in their luxury flat in Hong Kong, a defense attorney said Monday.

The defendant, one-time University of Minnesota student Nancy Kissel, has spent the past week trying to appeal the 2005 verdict that got her sentenced to life for what's widely known in Hong Kong as the "milkshake murder." The case has made headlines here because it provided a glimpse into a wealthy expatriate world of summer houses, sexual affairs and alleged drug and alcohol abuse.

Kissel has said she struck her investment banker husband, Robert, with a metal ornament when he was attacking her with a baseball bat in 2003. Her lawyer, Gerard McCoy, said Monday evidence of the bat was left on the metal ornament, which had been "distorted and damaged by a cylindrical shape object."

McCoy argued the judge in the original trial failed to fully address the self-defense argument when he summed up the case for the jury.

"The jury had to hear the defense case coherently and comprehensively put by the judge," McCoy said on the sixth day of the appeal.

The appeal hearing was adjourned until April 29 to give prosecutors time to prepare a response to McCoy's arguments.

Prosecutors have argued that before Nancy Kissel killed her husband, she was caught having an affair with a handyman who worked on the couple's summer house. They said the woman subdued her husband with a strawberry milkshake laced with the "date-rape drug" Rohypnol before she bashed in his head. She had the body rolled up in a carpet and hauled away to a storage area.

Nancy Kissel has said her husband was a whiskey-drinking workaholic with a violent temper. She said he also abused cocaine and forced her to have painful anal sex.