Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 6/20/13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) A Texas woman was awarded custody Thursday of her 9-month-old orphaned cousin whose mother was killed by former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher late last year before he turned the gun on himself. Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler issued an order Thursday granting custody of Zoey Perkins to Sophie Perkins of Pflugerville, Texas, saying she was more suited than Belcher's mother to be the baby's guardian. Zoey was orphaned on the morning of Dec. 1 when her father, Belcher, fatally shot her mother, Kasandra Perkins, in the couple's Kansas City home. Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of coaches and the team's general manager as they pleaded with him to put the gun down. During a three-day hearing last week, Sophie Perkins and Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd of West Babylon, N.Y., each argued that she would be the best guardian for the girl. Perkins' lawyers attacked Shepherd's smoking habit and the number of police calls to her home over the years, while Shepherd's attorneys criticized Perkins for putting the girl in day care 45 hours a week while she worked. Perkins, who was Kasandra Perkins' first cousin, is the sister of Whitney Golden Charles, whose husband is Chiefs All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles. "Out of these bad circumstances, this was the best result for Zoey," said Mark Roberts, Perkins' attorney. "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." Shepherd's attorneys did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Other than some trips to New York to spend time with Shepherd, Zoey has mostly stayed with Perkins in Texas since the shooting. The time the girl spent bonding with Perkins played a role in Wheeler's decision, he wrote, as did the police calls to Shepherd's home. "There have been numerous police reports made from Ms. Cheryl Shepherd's home during the past twenty years," Wheeler wrote. "While not controlling, and while not making Ms. Shepherd's home inappropriate to raise Minor, the Court concludes that this is evidence of Ms. Sophie Perkins' home being more stable than Ms. Shepherd's home, and this favors the appointment of Ms. Perkins as guardian." Zoey is to receive more than 1 million under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, including 108,000 annually over the next four years, 48,000 in the fifth year and 52,000 each year until she turns 18. She will continue to receive that amount until she is 23 if she attends college. A trust funded with money from the Chiefs owners, coaches, players, employees and the public will also help care for the child. Commerce Trust Co. has been appointed as conservator of Zoey's estate and will handle her finances.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL players wrote Roger Goodell seeking support for political activism

On the similarities between Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant

Tickets for 49ers-Rams game at Levi's going for $14

Sixers still open to trading Jahlil Okafor

Aaron Rodgers has funny quote on never beating the Bengals

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raul Mondesi sentenced to prison for corruption as mayor in Dominican Republic

WATCH: Youth football coaches engage in ugly brawl

Richard Sherman critical of NFL injury report: It is for gamblers

Adidas hooked Giannis Antetokounmpo up with an entire truck full of sneakers

Carmelo Anthony trade rumors suggest he’s headed to the Rockets soon

John Farrell may use David Price as temporary closer

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

Chiefs News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker