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Kimberly Kessler’s trial in murder of Joleen Cummings pushed back

Trial now set for Dec. 6

FILE- Kimberly Kessler appears at a hearing in June.
FILE- Kimberly Kessler appears at a hearing in June.

Kimberly Kessler’s trial in the 2018 murder of her co-worker Joleen Cummings, set for next month, has been pushed back until December.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed more time was needed to litigate the numerous defense motions to have evidence suppressed.

There will be a daylong motion hearing on Aug. 23.

Judge James Daniel tried twice to allow Kessler to take part in a virtual hearing Thursday. She was in a wheelchair in restraints and said 10 times, “Jordan Beard is Joleen’s cousin,” with her head tilted up and her eyes closed. The judge had her removed.

Jordan Beard is one of her defense lawyers. He is not Joleen’s cousin.

Lead defense lawyer Teresa Sopp told the judge that Kessler is demanding again that the public defender’s office be removed from the case. The judge had already denied that and had Kessler brought back to ask her about that. But she chanted, “Jordan Beard is Joleen’s cousin” five more times and was removed again. The judge said he would raise the issue with her in person at a later time.

Sopp informed Daniel that she was ready for trial and would be doing no more depositions ahead of the trial.

The judge said he wanted the defense’s trial strategy stated for the record, in case of a conviction and appeal. Sopp objected, saying that would violate her client-attorney privilege and needed to research the question.

Kessler’s next status conference is set for Aug. 12. The trial is now set for Dec. 6.

Last month, Daniel ruled that Kessler was competent to stand trial.