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Day 2 of jury selection underway in trial for accused killer Kimberly Kessler

The woman accused of murdering hairstylist Joleen Cummings was excluded from her own trial due to continued disruptive behavior.
Credit: anne schindler
Kimberly Kessler is escorted out of court on the first day of jury selection in her murder trial.

YULEE, Fla. — Jury selection continues Tuesday in the murder trial for Kimberly Kessler, the woman accused of killing her co-worker in 2018.

Kessler is charged with murder in the disappearance of Nassau County mother and hairstylist Joleen Cummings. Cummings' body has never been found.

Leading up to the trial, Kessler's mental health has been an issue since her arrest. Many factors have played into this including a hunger strike, the alleged spreading and throwing of feces, screaming and multiple outbursts in court.

RELATED: Electric carving knife will be allowed as evidence at Kimberly Kessler’s murder trial

After testimony from multiple correctional officers, the judge deemed Kessler competent to stand trial. Kessler has pleaded not guilty. Jury selection is expected to last one week and the trial is scheduled to start on Dec. 6. 

Ahead of the trial, the court sent out 600 juror summonses and has pre-qualified about 300 people. Attorneys will begin vetting jurors with four groups of 30 each day at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The judge wants to get 60 potential jurors in place to begin phase two of jury selection (strikes). After Monday's proceedings, 53 potential jurors qualified.

Court will start at 8:30 a.m. each day and go until 5:30 p.m.

Live Updates:

*Time codes below are approximations and may not be exact.

2:17 p.m.: Kessler tells the judge she wants new representation. She lists several reasons she wants to "fire" her court-appointed attorney, claiming they have lied in court about her behavior and saying they did not properly represent her. The judge denies her requests, saying that her claims are not factual, and telling her she has the right to represent herself. She again begins shouting "Jordan Beard is Joleen's cousin" and is removed from the court.

1:37 p.m.: Court resumes after a lunch break.

1:11 p.m.: There are 68 potential jurors queued up for Phase 2 of jury selection in the trial. Attorneys will dig into the potential jurors' past experiences and attitudes starting Wednesday morning. Opening statements begin Monday.

8:43 a.m.: The judge ends the public portion of the Zoom meeting for court to swear in the potential jurors.

8:33 a.m.: Kessler is brought into court strapped to a chair. There is no audio on the feed, but as in past proceedings, she is promptly wheeled back out, presumably due to making disruptions.

8:30 a.m.: Court is scheduled to resume.

RELATED: 53 potential jurors selected for Kimberly Kessler trial

RELATED: Biased, related, indifferent: Potential jurors have range of connections to Kimberly Kessler murder trial