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Judge orders Kimberly Kessler to have mental competency review

Court order follows Kessler's admittance to emergency room

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A judge has once again ordered a mental competency review of Kimberly Kessler, the woman charged with first-degree murder in the death of her coworker at a Nassau County hair salon.

The order was made after an attorney filed an emergency motion Wednesday, which stated that Kessler, who has been in the Nassau County Jail, had refused to eat for 56 days. The motion also stated that Kessler apparently refused to take medication that she was prescribed.

The attorney’s motion stated that Kessler was hospitalized on Tuesday and that her health has “deteriorated to the point that she is in danger of losing her life.”

Sabrina Blair told News4Jax she was in the hospital with Kessler, telling News4Jax she was taken to UF Health. She said she was put in a large room with Kessler at UF Health and that the room is typically where Baker Acted patients are placed.

Blair said she spoke with Kessler early Friday morning as she sat across from the accused killer’s hospital bed.

“She told me she would be praying for me, and I explained to her that I probably wouldn’t live to see her age, and she said ‘I’ll be praying for you to make sure that you live longer than me,‘” Blair said.

Blair told News4Jax that she didn’t recognize Kessler, but noticed she was eating.

“I watched her eat a few sandwiches and two bottles of Gatorade and was laughing with the officers and the other patients, smiling and acting like she was completely normal like there was nothing going on,” said Blair. “I heard her jokingly say to an officer, ‘I’ll be good for another 50 days.’ And I didn’t quite understand what she meant.”

Kessler’s attorneys and the State Attorney’s Office both told News4Jax they cannot comment on Kessler’s condition. She has gone on a hunger strike in the past. Kessler refused to eat after she was first arrested in 2018 and transferred to the Duval County jail.

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Kessler is accused of murdering Joleen Cummings, a 34-year-old mother of three at Tangles Hair Salon. Cummings, who was reported missing in May 2018, is presumed dead, though her body has never been found. Kessler is believed to be the last person to see her alive.

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.

The judge’s order comes months after Kessler was ruled competent to stand trial. In March, a judge weighed the opposing viewpoints of two established psychologists.


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