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‘Not afraid of going to hell’: Kimberly Kessler again refuses food as she awaits murder trial

Due to her ongoing behavior, her defense lawyers asked for a new mental competency evaluation but that might not happen as she has twice refused to speak to a psychologist.
Due to her ongoing behavior, her defense lawyers asked for a new mental competency evaluation but that might not happen as she has twice refused to speak to a psychologist.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been nearly three years since Joleen Cummings disappeared.

Prosecutors believe her co-worker Kimberly Kessler was the last person to see her alive and have accused Kessler of murder in Cummings’ death.

As Kessler waits for trial, records obtained by News4Jax show she’s refusing food, again.

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

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.

While Kessler waits for her murder trial, law enforcement said she is threatening to kill herself and harassing the staff that is working to protect her from herself, factors that could delay the trial.

According to court records, Kessler refused to eat food on April 27 and will not accept the meals provided by the jail. Kessler told a corrections officer ”I’m not afraid of going to hell. It’s time,” according to records.

This comes as the Cummings family is waiting for justice in court and maybe even answers to where the beloved hairdresser’s body is located.

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.

In the past, she was found “not competent.” Then in October 2020, a judge ruled she was competent, and her trial date was set.

Due to her ongoing behavior, her defense lawyers asked for a new mental competency evaluation but that might not happen as she has twice refused to speak to a psychologist.

The judge has encouraged another attempt for Kessler to see a psychologist. Kessler has also been Baker Acted once since her arrest. Kessler’s next hearing for the trial is May 27.

Though Cummings’ body was never found, investigators believe it may have been put in a Georgia landfill.


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