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Butler County Woman Kimberly Kessler Found Guilty In Joleen Cummings' 2018 Florida Murder

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

YULEE, Fla. (KDKA) - A woman who was missing from Butler County for years before she became the prime suspect in a Florida woman's death has been found guilty of first degree murder.

The verdict came Thursday shortly after the judge gave the jury in Nassau County, Florida the case.

Kimberly Kessler was the sole suspect in Joleen Cummings' death, although a body has never been found. Cummings, a mother of three who worked at the same salon as Kessler, went missing in May of 2018.

joleen cummings
(Photo provided by Florida Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office)

Kessler was also found guilty of grand theft of a motor vehicle after investigators said she was seen on surveillance video parking Cummings' vehicle at a Home Depot parking lot in Yulee, WJAX reported.

After Cummings' death, prosecutors said they found Kessler bought an electric carving knife and zip ties and surveillance footage shows her dropping several large garbage bags into a dumpster. Cummings' blood was also found on Kessler's scissors and boots, and her internet history showed she researched murder and missing people, including "Joleen Cummings no body no crime," prosecutors said.

Kessler disappeared from Butler County back in 2004. She lived in several states under as many as 18 false names, police said. She was arrested as Jennifer Sybert, and during the investigation, prosecutors said investigators learned that wasn't her real name.

kimberly kessler
(Source: Nassau County Sheriff's Department)

Court documents showed Kessler admitted to investigators that she had been running from the FBI for 25 years and was wanted in several states, WJAX reported in 2018.

Kessler was given multiple opportunities to testify during her trial, but she was removed because of what CBS affiliate WJAX called "routine outbursts."

She now faces a mandatory life sentence.

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