Kimberly Kessler refuses mental evaluation hearing, promises to ‘put on a show’ if forced to

Kessler is charged with murdering her co-worker, Joleen Cummings, who disappeared in 2018

Kimberly Kessler (left) is accused of murdering Joleen Cummings (right)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two attempts to re-examine Kimberly Kessler’s mental capacity have failed, News4Jax learned Thursday.

A defense lawyer arranged for a doctor to evaluate Kessler on two occasions, but Kessler refused each time. At the hearing to review the evaluation, Kessler refused to come out.

A Nassau County jail officer told the judge, “I spoke to Ms. Kimberly Kessler and she said she will not come out to court-- that she would put out a show and begin to try to take off her smock.”

The judge continued the hearing without her and postponed the evaluation hearing until May 27, adding, “hopefully the doctor will have been able to make an examination by then.”

Kessler’s 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 and when she allegedly flung feces at Nassau County corrections deputies. Her defense has argued that she needs to be hospitalized for “mental illness” and is not fit to stand trial.

Kessler is accused of murdering her coworker 34-year-old Joleen Cummings at a Nassau County hair salon in 2018. She’s also charged two counts of battery against a law enforcement officer.

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.