Custody Trial Nearing For Child In Jovan Belcher Murder-Suicide

Source: Lindsay H. Jones / USA Today / Detroit Free Press

Jovan Belcher’s mother, who was at the Kansas City home when Kasandra Perkins was killed, and Perkins’ family are in a legal battle for custody of the couple’s daughter, 8-month-old Zoey, with a trial opening June 11 in Jackson County (Mo.) Circuit Court and more than 80 witnesses scheduled to testify.

Squaring off are Sophie Perkins, a cousin of Zoey’s mother with whom the infant is living in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin, and Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd. Authorities initially turned the baby over to Shepherd, who lives in West Babylon, N.Y. According to one of her lawyers, she permitted maternal relatives to take Zoey to Texas for Kasandra Perkins’ funeral and then they refused to return her and stopped communicating with Shepherd.

Between her father’s estate personal property valued at $799,119.85, according to court records and insurance and other benefits, Zoey will have considerable financial support. She’ll receive at least $1 million from the NFL as she grows up, under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, atop a life insurance payment of $1.2 million, and money from savings accounts set up through the league. The Chiefs also established a trust fund, with contributions from chairman Clark Hunt and the players.

“Whenever she gets settled there, with whichever group of parents she ends up with, I think that they’ll do a good job for. She’s going to be well cared for,” Romeo Crennel said.

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