Butler Co. woman missing for decades, charged in Florida murder found competent to stand trial

JACKSONVILLE — Kimberly Kessler, the woman facing a murder charge in the death of Florida mother Joleen Cummings, was once again ruled competent to stand trial on Wednesday.

According to our sister station WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Kessler appeared in court for yet another competency hearing to determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial.

Her competence for trial has been a matter of debate for years since her arrest in the death of her former 34-year-old co-worker.

Kessler is originally from Butler County, Pa., but was living in Florida under the name Jennifer Sybert, which authorities believe she took from a woman who died decades ago and is buried in a Butler cemetery.

She was brought into the latest competency hearing strapped on in a wheelchair, repeatedly yelling, “Jordan Beard is Joleen Cummings’ cousin” and was kicked out to a holding cell where she appeared via Zoom.

Kessler was originally ruled incompetent to stand trial at the beginning of July of 2019 in a Florida court and was committed to a state hospital.