Conviction, Death Sentence of American in KL Hotel Murder of Ex-Wife Upheld

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The Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction and death sentence of an American citizen for the murder of his ex-wife in a hotel in 2016.

A three-man bench comprising Court of Appeal judges Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk Zabariah Yusof (now Federal Court judge) and Datuk P Ravinthran affirmed the findings of the High Court that Gerald Wayne Mickelson was guilty of killing Guilda Mickelson, also an American citizen.

Justice Ravinthran, in his judgement dated today, said the confession made by Mickelson that he killed the deceased was properly admitted into evidence.

“Even, if it were otherwise, it is our finding that the trial judge had ample evidence before him to conclude that the appellant (Mickelson) intended to cause bodily injury to the deceased which was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death,” he said in dismissing Mickelson’s appeal.

Justice Ravinthran said as the medical evidence proved the cause of death was manual strangulation and both the appellant and the deceased were locked in a physical struggle, the only inference that could be drawn was that the appellant had strangled the deceased to death.

He said the learned trial judge had correctly found that the element of intention to cause injury was proved.

“As on the evidence, the appellant had undoubtedly strangled the deceased to death; in our view there is no room to argue that the infliction of the said bodily injury was unintentional or accidental.

Mickelson, 65, was convicted by the High Court in September 2018 of murdering his ex-wife, 61, in a hotel room at Lingkaran Syed Putra, Brickfields, between 5am and 11am on November 26, 2016.


A prosecution witness, in his evidence at the High Court, said on that day, the hotel received a call through the hotel intercom from the room from a male caller asking for police to be sent to his suite because there was “trouble”.

A duty officer and a security officer went up to the room and the guest, which was later identified as the appellant, told the hotel staff that his ex-wife had died and he (Mickelson) told the staff that he killed her.

In his defence, Mickelson said he did not intend to kill but that he was defending himself as he was physically attacked by the deceased who had tried to prevent him from leaving the hotel suite.

Lawyer Datuk N Sivananthan, who was representing Mickelson, when contacted, said his client’s appeal is pending in the Federal Court awaiting a hearing date to be fixed.