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Jury picked in Kimberly Kessler murder trial; Opening statements begin Monday

Opening statements will begin Monday in Kimberly Kessler's murder trial. She's the hairdresser accused of killing her co-worker, Joleen Cummings.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A jury has been selected in the murder trial of Kimberly Kessler, a Nassau County woman accused of killing a mother of three in 2018.

Joleen Cummings was reported missing after she never showed up to pick up her children on Mother’s Day. Investigators believe Kessler was the last person to see Cummings alive at the Tangles Hair Salon where they both worked. Cummings’ body has never been found.

After the jury was finalized on Wednesday, opening statements are slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

It’s not clear if Kessler will be in the courtroom when opening statements begin. Since the trial began, Kessler has been a disruption.

Kessler was brought into the courtroom as jury selection began Monday but was promptly removed seconds later after she yelled “Jordan Beard is Joleen’s cousin.” The outburst, which she has repeated at nearly every court appearance, is an accusation about one of her former defense attorneys that has been proven untrue.

In a motion filed Tuesday, prosecutors say if she voluntarily chooses not to participate or is removed, the trial should not be delayed. Prosecutors also want the jury instructed that it cannot speculate about Kessler’s absence, or let it affect their deliberations on the evidence presented to them.

Over the years, the state released a slew of evidence, showing blood found in the salon and surveillance of Kessler in Cummings’ SUV, without her.

Just last week, Kessler’s attorneys filed a new motion suggesting Cummings could have become violent with Kessler after an argument about drugs found in Cummings purse in the salon.

Over the years, the woman with 17 aliases, has undergone three mental competency evaluations. The judge ultimately ruled her competent to stand trial. One week before jury selection, the defense requested another mental competency evaluation, which was denied.

A motion for a change of venue was also denied. The judge said a change of venue is a moot point because a jury has been selected.


About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.