Closing arguments in the trial of a woman accused of killing her co-worker at a Florida hair salon are set for Thursday morning after testimony in the trial ended before noon on Wednesday.
Kimberly Kessler again spent most of the day in a holding room, although Nassau County Judge James Daniel brought her into the courtroom three times during the brief session Wednesday morning. All three times she had outbursts, as she had on the previous two days of testimony and multiple times in other court proceedings dating back months, WJXT reported.
Daniel again had her taken to a room where she could observe the proceedings but not interrupt them. The jury was not in the courtroom during Kessler’s outbursts on Wednesday, which were mostly were accusations that her former defense attorney, Jordan Beard, is a cousin to Joleen Cummings, the 34-year-old mother of three Kessler has been charged with killing in 2018. The allegations that Beard and Cummings are related is not true.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cummings was reported missing on Mother’s Day 2018 when she failed to pick up her children from her ex-husband. Kessler was the last person to see her alive, at Tangles Hair Salon in Fernandina Beach where they both worked. Cummings body has not been found, but investigators said they found substantial DNA at the crime scene that matched the victim.
Additionally, Cummings vehicle was found at a Home Depot a few days after she disappeared — and surveillance video showed Kessler dropping the SUV off in the parking lot.
The prosecution wrapped its case Wednesday morning with a focus on Kessler’s internet searchers, according to WJXT. Nassau County Sheriff’s Detective Charity Rose discussed thousands of searches on Kessler’s phone leading up to Cummings’ May 12, 2018, disappearance, including “autopsy,” “cadavers,” “murderpedia,” “victimpedia,” “female murderers by country,” and “Florida female murderers.” Four days after Cummings’ disappearance, Rose said, Kessler searched for terms related to her disappearance, including “Joleen Cummings no body no crime.”
Two other witnesses testified that Kessler had bought heavy duty zip ties on May 5, paying with cash, and asked if a storage facility had live video surveillance and whether it was recorded.
The defense called a single witness, recalling lead Detective Wayne Herrington, who had already testified for the prosecution. The attorney showed Herrington a baggie reportedly found at the hair salon days after Cummings disappeared. Herrington said the baggie contained a chalky substance and that he doesn’t believe it was tested for evidence. The testimony may have had a connection to a motion filed last month by the defense alleging Cummings and Kessler had an argument over drugs at the salon.
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[Feature Photo: Joleen Cummings (left)/Handout; Kimberly Kessler/Police Handout]