Finally Some Stability: Judge Grants Custody Of Jovan Belcher’s Daughter Zoey
Seven months ago, last December, Kansas City Chief player Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his then 2 month old daughter, Zoey. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of coaches and the team’s general manager.
Well yesterday Perkins’ cousin was awarded custody of Zoey Perkins, now 9 months.
A Jackson County Probate Commissioner in Missouri granted custody to Kasandra’s cousin Sophie Perkins, ruling that she was better suited to be the baby’s guardian than Belcher’s mother.
For the past three days Sophie Perkins and Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepard, argued about who would make the best guardian for Zoey. Perkins’ lawyers brought up Shepard’s smoking habit as justification that she was unfit while Shepard’s attorneys argued that Perkins putting Zoey in daycare for 45 hours every week, while she worked, made Shepard the better fit.
Perkins’ attorney Mark Roberts had this to say about the outcome of the case.
“Out of these bad circumstances, this was the best result for Zoey. Both sides love Zoey; both sides were operating with her best interest in mind. The court had a difficult decision to make, but we think it was the right decision.”
Since the murder of her parents in December, Zoey has spent most of her time with Kasandra’s cousin Sophie in Texas, only making a few trips to visit Shepard in New York.
The judge wrote that the bonding time Zoey had already spent with Perkins in addition to the numerous police reports that had been made from Ms. Shepard’s home influenced his decision to grant custody to Ms. Perkins.
Thanks to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, Zoey will receive more than $1 million dollars throughout the course of her life. She’ll receive $108,000 annually over the next four years, $48,000 in the fifth year and $52,000 each year after that until she turns 18. If she decides to attend college she’ll continue to receive $52,000 a year until she turns 23.
The Kansas City Chief owners, coaches, players and employees have opened up a trust fund which will also care for her.
Commerce Trust Co has been appointed at conservator of Zoey’s estate and will handle her financial matters.