Jury selection process for Kimberly Kessler murder trial begins Monday

Jury selection process for Kimberly Kessler murder trial begins Monday

The jury selection process is set to begin Monday in the murder trial of Kimberly Kessler, the woman accused of killing her co-worker at a Nassau County hair salon in 2019.

Kessler is believed to be the last person who saw Julen Cummings alive. Cummings’ body has not been found. A mother of three was reported missing when she did not pick up her children on Mother’s Day in 2018.

Kessler was charged with Cummings’ murder after deputies said blood evidence was found at the Tangles Hair salon in Nassau County where the two worked together. Kessler was initially accused of stealing Cummings’ SUVs a few days after Cummings’ disappearance.

Kessler’s lawyers have suggested a new suggestion that Cummings could become “physically violent” with Kessler in an ongoing drug feud in the salon. The defense also accuses prosecutors of withholding evidence that Cummings had drugs in her bag around the time of her disappearance.

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The defense is asking the judge for a drug evidence hearing and has also submitted another request for a mental aptitude review.

The movement notes that there was “fairly violent fighting” in the Tangles and that blood from both women was found throughout the salon.

The defense never acknowledged Cummings’ death, and her body was never found.

Related: Prosecutors accuse Kimberly Kessler of using an electric carving knife on Julien Cummings’ body

Kessler performed three assessments of mental aptitude. She was ruled ineligible to prosecute at her first trial in 2019. But Judge James Daniel found she was competent to prosecute — in 2020 and earlier this year. Last week, he refused a defense request for a fourth mental aptitude assessment.

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The defense made its last request on Monday, a week before jury selection begins.

The case attracted national attention when it first broke out in part because authorities said Kessler, who went by Jennifer Seibert, had used 17 different pseudonyms over the years.

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