American Nancy Kissel, dubbed the “milkshake murderer” for one of Hong Kong’s most notorious crimes, was back in court Friday to challenge her life sentence for murdering her banker husband.
Kissel lost an appeal in 2014 against a conviction for drugging her husband – a senior executive at US bank Merrill Lynch – with a sedative-laced strawberry drink before clubbing him to death with a lead ornament in their luxury home in the southern Chinese city.
She is currently serving a life sentence at Hong Kong’s high-security Tai Lam Centre for Women.
With bobbed hair and wearing glasses, she took copious notes throughout the judicial review hearing into her case at Hong Kong’s High Court on Friday.
Kissel’s lawyers challenged a decision last year by the government’s Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board, which they said refused an application for conditional release or to recommend a determinate sentence.
The board makes suggestions to Hong Kong’s chief executive about inmates it deems suitable to be released before the end of an imposed jail term.
Kissel’s representative Edward Fitzgerald argued she was entitled to know what length of time the board would deem “sufficient” before considering releasing her from detention early.
It was “cruel” to repeatedly allow a prisoner to go in front of the board without knowing where they stood, said Fitzgerald, pointing out that a life sentence does not always mean life behind bars.
The hearing followed a writ filed by Kissel’s legal team last year which said the review board had “wrongly” refused to shorten her sentence.
“Given … the applicant’s demonstration of remorse and repentance, the respondent acted unreasonably,” the writ said, referring to the board.