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Joleen Cummings' mom says message in daughter's book calms her rage

Mother of slain hairstylist expresses anger over lengthy court process

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YULEE, Fla. – The mother of a murdered Nassau County hairstylist said she's angry about the exhausting court process after no ruling was made Thursday on the competency of her daughter's accused killer, Kimberly Kessler.

Kessler, who is charged with killing her former co-worker Joleen Cummings, is expected to be back in court next week for a hearing about two mental evaluations she's had. The judge will decide if she's fit to stand trial.

Cummings' mother, Anne Johnson, regularly comes to court for updates in the case and said she's disappointed that the case isn't further along more than a year after her daughter disappeared.

“You go through different stages of grief -- that’s what I’ve learned. At this stage, I’m going through anger,” Johnson said. “Because you want answers, you want resolution, you want prosecution and you want justice.”

Investigators suspect Kessler, who worked with Cummings at Tangles hair salon in Yulee, was the last person to see Cummings alive. The Nassau County mother of three was reported missing last May.

Kessler is charged with first-degree murder in Cummings’ death. More than a year later, the 34-year-old’s body has not been found, despite an extensive search at a Georgia landfill that turned up items of interest.

Following Cummings’ disappearance, her SUV was found parked outside a Home Depot. Kessler was arrested May 16 after investigators said they found footage showing her getting out of the vehicle.

Since then, the state has released reams of evidence in the case through the discovery process that suggest a struggle occurred at the salon and that steps were taken to dispose of that evidence.

Kessler has had two mental competency exams but the results of those exams have not been released.

COURT DOCUMENT: Order for competency examination

As she continues following the tedious court process, Johnson asked the community to pray for her and her family.

She shared a message from her daughter's Bible that she said brings her comfort in her grief.

“It says, 'Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves,'” Johnson said. “It kind of gives me a calmness because I was feeling that rage.”


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