Premier Family Law Attorneys

Families Face off in Child Custody Dispute After Murder-Suicide

Our readers may remember the tragic story of former Kansas City Chiefs lineman Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kassandra Perkins, who died back in December. Belcher shot himself in the parking lot of the team’s training facility after murdering his girlfriend in their home.

The couple left behind a young daughter, Zoey, now eight months old, and the trial of a custody dispute between the families of Belcher and Perkins is set to begin in two weeks, just over six months after the couple died.

At odds in the case are Sophie Perkins–a cousin of the child’s mother with whom the little girl has been living in Pflugerville, Texas–and Belcher’s mother Cheryl Shepherd. The infant had initially gone to Shepherd, who allowed Perkins’ family to take the infant to her mother’s funeral. Following the funeral, they refused to return the infant and cut off communication with Shepherd.

An investigation into the murder-suicide revealed that Belcher and his girlfriend had argued about money, partying habits and custody of their daughter in the preceding weeks. Prior to his death, Belcher voiced his intention that his daughter would receive the best possible care.

Sources didn’t detail what issues would arise in the custody battle, but there appears to be a lot of money involved. A sizeable sum of financial support will come with custody of the little girl. Her father’s estate is valued at $799, 199.85, plus insurance and other benefits and at least $1 million from the NFL as she grows older.