Nancy Kissel's family stunned by verdict

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am

Nancy Kissel's family said they were stunned after the American expat was convicted yesterday of murdering her husband, suggesting 'cultural differences' may have played a part in the jury's unanimous decision.

Speaking outside the Court of First Instance, where the 46-year-old was found guilty of the murder for the second time in six years, her mother Jean McGlothlin and stepfather Michael said they could not understand how the jurors reached their verdict after listening to the weeks of evidence and testimony.

'I can't explain it. I don't know if it was a cultural difference, I don't know what the difference is, but there is a clear difference in the way they view things versus how we view things,' Michael McGlothlin said.

However, they said they felt Kissel had been given a fair trial.

'The bottom line is, she got the trial she deserved,' he said.

The McGlothlins were just two of the family members and friends of the Kissels who sat in court during the 47-day retrial. The killer's father Ira Keeshin and half-brother Brooks Keeshin were there throughout, as were the victim's father Bill Kissel and sister Jane Clayton, though the latter pair were not present at yesterday's verdict and sentencing.

Clayton now has custody of the Kissels' three children, who were aged four, six and nine at the time of their father's murder and are now 11, 14 and 17, respectively.

In 2006, a claim was filed on the children's behalf against Nancy Kissel for the wrongful death of their father. That had been stayed pending the final outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Jean McGlothlin said the case had 'defined our lives for the past 71/2 years', adding: 'It has changed the way we do things on a day-to-day basis.'

The McGlothlins said the most important thing now was to find the appropriate psychological, physical and medical care for Kissel. During the retrial, she regularly needed help from correctional services officers with walking. She told the court that her weight had plummeted from 54kg in 2003, when she killed her husband, to 38kg last month, and that she was suffering from depression.

Jean McGlothlin, who frequently held her daughter's hand through the bars of the dock during the retrial, maintained yesterday that her daughter 'is not a bad person'.

'She is not violent. She is a loving mother,' she said.

For now, the McGlothlins said, they would return to their home in the United States.

Ira Keeshin left the court building without comment.

Meanwhile, the family of Robert Kissel said they believed that justice had been done.

'Robert was a loving father and a hard working, family man. He dearly loved his children and did his very best to provide for his wife and children in life and in death,' the family said in a statement that was issued through their lawyers.

'The past few years have been a painful process of recovery, especially for the children, and now that the trial is concluded we shall continue to help rebuild their lives,' the statement added.

'Robert was a loving, caring and talented person. We all miss him so much.'

Clayton was called by the prosecution as a witness during the trial. When she took the stand she said her brother had been 'a very loyal husband'.

Robert Kissel's body was found wrapped in a carpet at a storeroom near the family home in November 2003 after he had been drugged and bludgeoned to death by his wife as he slept. He was 40.