Former Butler County woman sentenced to life without parole in Florida murder investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former Butler County woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole in connection with the 2018 disappearance of a Florida woman.

According to our partners at WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, Kimberly Kessler was also sentenced to five years for grand theft and will serve that sentence concurrently.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said his agency will continue looking into the case and the department is ready for Kessler to go to prison.

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“I’ve been assured she’ll be on the first bus tomorrow out of town and when she leaves, we’re going to have cake and ice cream,” Leeper told WJAX-TV. “We’re going to celebrate. We’re going to celebrate her home-going because her new home for the rest of her life until she takes her last breath is going to be Florida State Prison.”

Investigators said Kessler had used 18 different aliases and lived in 33 cities in 14 states since 1996. She was convicted of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Joleen Cummings in 2018.

Detectives said Kessler and Cummings worked together at the same hair salon. Cummings’ body has never been found and she has long been considered dead. Kessler was the sole suspect in the disappearance.

Multiple mental health professionals were called in over the course of the investigation to determine Kessler’s mental competency. In April 2021, Kessler was charged following an incident in which she attacked two law enforcement officers with feces from her jail cell.