INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The high-profile custody hearing for Zoey Belcher continued on Thursday. Zoey is the daughter of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, who both died in a murder-suicide in December.
The packed courtroom heard from Sophie Perkins, Kasandra's cousin, for the first time Thursday. Her testimony was compelling and extremely detailed.
Sophie Perkins explained how she arranged baby Zoey's room in her home just outside Austin, Texas.
The 35-year-old shipped the furnishings from Zoey's room in Belcher and Perkin's Kansas City home to Texas. Perkins set up Zoey's room with the curtains, crib, bedding, clothing and other personal items from the home where Jovan Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins to "help her get acclimated and feel comforted by her belongings."
She says she also framed pictures of both Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins and hung them near Zoey's bed.
She also told the judge she sought professional advice on talking to Zoey about her parent's murder-suicide.
She added that she wanted the child's paternal relatives to be involved in those conversations, including Cheryl Shepherd Belcher's mother, who is also fighting for custody.
She spoke of small details stating when Zoey's warm she sweats from the bridge of her nose "just like her mother Kasandra."
Yesterday, attorneys on the paternal side brought up evidence of Sophie Perkin's father's criminal record.
But today she told the packed courtroom that she moved in with her grandparents at age 14 to ensure she would have strong influences in her life; Something she also wants for Zoey.
Sophie Perkins added she feels better suited to care for Zoey because she is younger and healthier than Cheryl Shepherd, who is in her 60s.
Thursday afternoon attorneys on Shepherd's side will have the opportunity to ask Sophie Perkins their own questions.