Nassau County

KIMBERLY KESSLER: Woman accused of killing Nassau County mom Joleen Cummings accuses public defender’s office of conspiring against her

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — Kimberly Kessler, the woman accused of killing Nassau County mom Joleen Cummings, appeared at a court hearing on Thursday and asked for a new attorney.

That request was ultimately denied by the judge.

Kessler said she believes a member of the public defender’s office is related to Cummings. Kessler and Cummings worked together at Tangles Hair Salon in Yulee in May 2018 when Cummings disappeared.

“Joleen spoke of him at the salon,” Kessler said during the hearing.

PHOTOS: Mugshots of Kimberly Kessler, woman accused in murder of Nassau County mom Joleen Cummings

Cummings’ body has never been found.

Kessler smiled during the Thursday hearing as she asked for a new attorney and accused the public defender’s office of conspiring against her.

“I believe that the entire public defender’s office was aware of this and still just kept going with what they went with,” Kessler said.

The claim is something the public defender’s office said is not true, despite Kessler’s arguments.

RELATED: Woman accused of murdering Joleen Cummings appears in court with mask and Holy Bible

“A lot of what he stated at our last court date in February or March, whenever it was, was misinformation. I kept quiet then -- I really should have stood up and gotten contempt of court that day,” Kessler said.

Action News Jax showed you Kessler yelling and cursing during a competency hearing on Oct. 5. The judge said despite her outbursts and starvation episodes, she is competent to stand trial for Cummings' murder.

Guards at the jail said Kessler weighed 196 pounds. when she was booked in 2018. At the Oct. 5 hearing, they said her weight had dropped as low as 74 pounds.

Attorneys say they are preparing for a few more hearings before the case can go before jurors. The judge is expecting to see Kessler again on Nov. 5 to set a jury selection date.