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Former county woman accused of killing coworker may be found competent to stand trial

October 15, 2019 News Extra

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Kimberly Kessler AKA Jennifer Sybert

A former Butler County woman accused of killing a Florida woman after years of living under several false identities might be fit to stand trial after all.

In a new letter to the judge handling Kimberly Kessler's case, Waylon Lewis — an attorney providing institutional counsel for Florida State Hospital — indicated that the treatment staff at the hospital believe she's competent enough to stand trial.

Such a finding triggers a competency hearing within 30 days, the letter stated.

Kessler, 51, was found incompetent to stand trial in July and committed.

She is accused of the first-degree murder of Joleen Cummings, with whom she worked at a hair salon in Nassau County, Fla.

Kessler grew up in Butler County and attended the South Butler County School District. She was reported missing in Butler County in 2004.

Police report that Kessler has lived in 14 states under at least 25 aliases since leaving Butler County. At the time of her arrest, she had been going by the alias Jennifer Sybert.

Cummings' body has not been found. Police have released footage of Kessler allegedly abandoning Cummings' vehicle in a parking lot after Cummings went missing.

Investigators believe Kessler is the last person to see Cummings alive on May 12, 2018.

Cummings, a 34-year-old mother of three, failed to pick up her children the following day, and she was reported missing May 14 after not showing up for work at the Tangles Hair Salon in Fernandina Beach where Kessler also worked.

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