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Psychologist finds Kimberly Kessler not competent to stand trial, again

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

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A psychologist who conducted a mental competency evaluation on Kimberly Kessler told a judge Thursday morning she is not competent to stand trial.

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.

Law enforcement said Kessler, who’s charged with first-degree murder in the 2018 death of 34-year-old Joleen Cummings, has also threatened to kill herself and harassed the staff that is working to protect her from herself.

According to court records, Kessler told a corrections officer “I’m not afraid of going to hell. It’s time.”

The psychologist who evaluated Kessler was hired by the defense and also the same one who previously felt she was unable to assist in her own trial. At a competency hearing last year, the judge rejected that assessment and ruled Kessler was competent.

Another competency hearing is slated for June 30.

The State Attorney’s Office said it should be an easy ruling since the court already ruled against the doctor’s previous assessment and expects it will again.

Kessler’s trial is scheduled for mid-August.


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