JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Yet another mental competency examination has been ordered for Kimberly Kessler, the woman accused of murdering her coworker at a Nassau County hair salon, News4Jax learned Thursday.
Kessler, who’s charged with first-degree murder in the 2018 death of 34-year-old Joleen Cummings, is scheduled to see a psychologist next week to determine whether she is fit to stand trial in the case.
She was not present Thursday morning for an arraignment hearing on two counts of battery against a law enforcement officer after she allegedly flung feces at Nassau County corrections deputies.
In her absence, a defense attorney entered not guilty pleas to those two counts.
Next week’s examination marks the fourth mental health evaluation ordered for Kessler, who’s accused of killing Cummings inside Tangles Hair Salon in Yulee, where they both worked, in May 2018.
Her competency has been raised repeatedly during court proceedings, particularly after she went on a hunger strike that authorities say dropped her body weight to 89 pounds. Her defense has argued that she needs to be hospitalized for “mental illness.”
Kessler, who’s believed to be the last person to have seen Cummings alive, was arrested May 16, 2018.
Court records show investigators found bloodstains on a chair, wall, reception desk and vacuum, among other objects and surfaces throughout the salon, in the wake of Cummings’ disappearance.
A sport-utility vehicle belonging to the mother of three was located at a Nassau County hardware store, and authorities said they have footage showing Kessler getting out of the vehicle.
Though Cummings’ body has not been found, authorities said a search of a Georgia landfill turned up multiple notable items.