KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wednesday marked the second day of a legal battle for custody of little Zoey Belcher.
Belcher is the nine-month-old infant who was orphaned when her father, former Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher, killed her mother and then killed himself back in December.
Wednesday’s testimony was a comparison of two homes and the people who live in them.
Which home is more suitable for the nine-month old orphan? The home of Zoey’s grandmother, who is Jovan Belcher’s mother, in New York state — or the Texas home of a cousin of Zoey’s mother.
The morning opened with grandmother Cheryl Shepard defending her reputation. During a 90-minute session, Shepard was questioned about the safety of her Long Island home, and how it might affect the infant Zoey. Sophie Perkins, a cousin of the baby’s dead mother, also wants to be named as Zoey’s guardian.
Her attorney brought up 72 police reports, all of which involved visits to Shepard’s home in West Babylon, NY. The reports span a 15-year period. Police were called there to investigate incidents — ranging from family arguments to a rowdy block party with alcohol.
Jovan’s mother, Shepard, said her home is a safe place for the baby, as did family friend Newton Marsonet, who was a childhood friend of Jovan’s.
In the afternoon, Rebcecca Gonzales, who is Kasandra Perkins’ mother, told the court the New York home isn’t fit for the child. Gonzales said Kasandra told her the house was too crowded and unclean. Gonzales told the court Kasandra told her, “I don’t want my baby raised with those people…” referring to Belcher’s family.
Gonzales said 35-year-old Sophie Perkins would make the best parent for Zoey. Perkins lives outside Austin, Texas. Sophie said she wants to give Zoey the life her parents weren’t able to provide.
Jovan Belcher played three seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The wife of star running back Jamaal Charles, Whitney Charles, is listed as a witness in the case. She could be called to the stand tomorrow, when testimony continues.