Tim Polzer
Friday May 31st, 2013

Jovan Belcher shot and killed girlfriend Kassandra Perkins before committing suicide in Dec. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Jovan Belcher shot and killed girlfriend Kassandra Perkins before committing suicide. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs have tried to put the tragic story of linebacker Jovan Belcher behind them. In December, he murdered his girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins, before committing suicide in front of former head coach Romeo Crennell and former general manager Scott Pioli at the team's headquarters.

Now relatives of Belcher and Perkins are fighting a legal battle for custody of the couple's surviving daughter, eight-month-old Zoey, according to a USA Today report.

The trial, scheduled to begin June 11 in a Jackson County (Mo.) court, will determine if Sophie Perkins, a cousin of Zoey's mother with whom the infant is living in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin, or Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, will have custody of Zoey.

Shepherd, who was in the house when her son fatally shot Kassandra Perkins nine times, was granted custody in the immediate wake of the tragedy. According to Shepherd's attorney, she allowed Sophie Perkins to take Zoey to Texas for her mother's funeral but the Perkins family has refused to return her and cut off communications.

Zoey's eventual guardian is in line to control millions.

From USA Today:

Between her father's estate and 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 [her]. She's going to be well cared for," Crennel said.

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