Jolene Cummings and Kimberly Kessler

Kimberly Kessler Trial: Accused Co-Worker Killer Has Another Outburst, Removed From Court Before Opening Statements

The mother of a slain Florida woman took the stand in Nassau County Monday, as the trial for accused murder, Kimberly Kessler, began.

Jennifer Sybert, AKA Kimberly Kessler (pictured right), is currently on trial for the 2018 murder of her co-worker Joleen Cummings (pictured left). During court, Monday, before opening statements, Kessler had an outburst, leading to her being removed from the court before opening statements began.

Nassau County Judge James Daniel order Kessler to a holding room to watch the opening statements, where she couldn’t make additional outbursts but could still watch the proceedings.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cummings was reported missing on Mother’s Day 2018, after she failed to pick up her three kids from her former husband. Both Kessler and Cumming worked at the Tangles Hair Salon in Fernandina Beach at the time. Police said Kessler was the last person to see Cumming alive while they were both inside the salon.

Cummings’ mother took the stand Monday and described how unusual it was for her daughter to not show up for her own children and especially unusual for it to happen on Mother’s Day.

Previous Video Coverage of Kessler’s Courtroom Outburst 

State prosecutors said during opening statements that although Cummings’ body has never been recovered, there was substantial DNA left behind at the crime scene that matched Kessler.

Further, authorities found Cummings’ SUV abandoned close to a local Home Depot store a few days after her disappearance. Surveillance camera footage captured Kessler parking Cummings’ vehicle a little after 1 a.m.

The security footage showed Kessler getting out of the driver’s side of the SUV but Cummings never emerged. According to an affidavit, Kessler then walked to the nearby Gates gas station, where she got into a taxi cab.

On May 16, 2018, police located Kessler sleeping inside a black Kia Soul at a rest area off of Interstate 95 in St. John’s County. She was arrested and charged with grand theft auto, based on the footage of her driving the victim’s car. Police also noted she had scratches on one hand and one eye.

Kimberly Kessler/St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office

Kessler is now facing a first-degree premeditated murder charge after evidence showed she killed Cummings, prosecutors said. The defense disagreed and argued that the case has a “lack of evidence.”

In June 2018, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced at a press conference that Kessler has lived under 17 names in 33 cities spanning over 14 states since 1996. He said that he doesn’t believe Nassau County, located in the northeast corner of the sunshine state along the Atlantic Ocean, has ever seen a case like it before.

“We’re not quite sure yet why all the disguises or if she has been involved in the disappearance of anyone else before, but it seems she is definitely running from something,” Leeper told reporters.

The trial resumes tomorrow. Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Here is a previous episode on the case. 

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[Feature Photo: Jolene Cummings (left)/Handout; Kimberly Kessler/Police Handout]