Entries in Jovan Belcher (3)


Family Feuds over NFL Player Jovan Belcher's Million-Dollar Baby

Jamie Squire/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The grandparents of a 4-month old girl, orphaned when her football player-father Jovan Belcher killed her mother and himself, are locked in a bitter custody dispute over the tiny heiress set to inherit nearly $3 million.

Tiny Zoey Belcher is entitled to millions in life insurance, annual payments and retirement funds from the NFL as the sole heir to Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs who killed himself and the girl's mother, girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, in December.

A lawyer for Perkins' family said the family was seeking permanent custody of the girl.

"Personally, I don't know why we would want to reward Jovan's -- the murderer's -- family with giving them the baby, but that's not a legal argument," lawyer Jon Michal Franks told ABC News.

The baby was initially in the custody of Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd. Shepherd alleges that she gave the baby to Perkins' family because they wanted to take the infant with them to attend Perkins' funeral in Texas. Once there the girl's maternal grandparents cut off all contact with Belcher's family, according to her lawyer.

"Cheryl agreed to temporarily allow the maternal relatives [to] take Zoey to Texas for her mother's funeral," Shepherd's lawyer, Gretchen M. Gold, wrote in an email to the Jackson County, Mo., probate commissioner last week. "The maternal relatives have now ceased communicating with Cheryl Shepherd and have refused to return her calls or return the child to her care."

Franks disputes that, saying Shepherd willingly brought and left the baby with her maternal family in Texas.

The families are now locked in a custody dispute in two different states, with Belcher's family suing in Missouri and Perkins' family seeking custody in Texas.

"Cheryl left the baby [in Texas] voluntarily after Kasandra's memorial. There was no baby snatching at all," Franks said.

The Missouri court will hear arguments on Friday. A court date in Texas has been set for Jan. 22.

Franks said Belcher's mother was initially given custody following the murder-suicide because she was the only next-of-kin at the scene and someone had to immediately take care of the child.

"My impression is that the family here in Texas may have a more stable environment, and be better suited to take care of the child," said Franks.

Under the current NFL players' contract, Zoey's estate or guardian is entitled to more than $100,000 for the next five years and around $50,000 until she turns 18 or until 23 if she attends college. She also stands to inherit a $600,000 life insurance payout, plus nearly $1 million through her father's NFL retirement account.

On Dec. 1, 2012, Belcher, who played for the Chiefs in every game since 2009, shot Perkins multiple times at their home. He then drove to the team's stadium, where he killed himself in front of his coaches and police.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bob Costas: US Needs ‘More Comprehensive, More Sensible Gun Control’ Laws

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sportscaster Bob Costas says some people “misunderstood” his comments about Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide during Sunday Night Football this weekend, but he maintains his stance that gun laws need to change.

Speaking on The Last Word in his first television interview since the comments, Costas told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell he was talking about a “gun culture” that he believes is a problem in the United States during the halftime show Sunday.

“I never mentioned the Second Amendment. I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that,” Costas said. “Now do I believe we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes, I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on somebody having a gun to protect their home and their family.”

But even with reformed gun laws, Costas said “you would still have the problem of what Jason Whitlock wrote about and what I agree with, and that is a gun culture in this country.”

The NBC sportscaster fielded criticism earlier this week for comments he made about the Belcher murder.

“If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today,” Costas said Sunday, quoting from an article condemning gun ownership.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said “there is no excuse” for those kind of remarks after a tragedy.

“Here you have an inexcusable crime, you have a murder, and you have a national broadcaster basically using the opportunity to preach his social agenda during the national sporting event,” LaPierre told ABC News Monday. “The day we stop calling murderers ‘murderers,’ the country’s in trouble.”

Costas addressed criticism along that vein Tuesday.

“No one is saying that Belcher is not responsible,” Costas said. “Could he have strangled her? Could he have stabbed her? Of course he could have. But the easy availability of guns makes this sort of thing just far more likely to occur.”

Costas explained that he meant to offer “a bit of perspective” during the 90-second lecture, and that his “mistake” was in trying to capture a complicated subject in a short amount of time.

“What I was trying to say was that if you want some perspective on this there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about the problem was that I didn’t have enough time to get to many of them,” Costas said. “I’ve always said if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jovan Belcher: Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers Face Off Day After Murder-Suicide

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Kansas City Chiefs are facing off against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself in front of his coaches.

"This just doesn't seem real...praying for 59 and his family," Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle David Mims tweeted, referring to the number Belcher wore on the field.

The decision to play the game as scheduled Sunday came "after discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains," the franchise said in a statement.

On Saturday morning, Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, police said.

"We heard that they had been arguing in the past [and] as far as recently, they'd been arguing before the shooting occurred this morning," Kansas City Police spokesman Darin Snapp said.

The couple had lived together and had a 3-month-old daughter.

A woman first alerted police Saturday morning that her daughter had been shot by her boyfriend, who was a Kansas City Chiefs player, Snapp said. Police initially believed the woman was Perkins' mother, but later learned she was Belcher's mother, who lived with the couple to help care for their daughter and according to family members was extremely close to Perkins.

Belcher drove to the stadium where he held a gun to his head in the parking lot and talked to his coaches.

"They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they'd done for him," Snapp said. "They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That's when he walked away and shot himself."

Belcher appeared to have pulled the trigger when officers arrived at the stadium, Snapp said.

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound linebacker joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, and had spent all four seasons of his career with the team. He has played in every game since joining the team and was considered to be a rising star.

Originally from West Babylon, N.Y., where he was a three-time all-America wrestler in addition to playing on the football team, Belcher went undrafted out of the University of Maine, where he started all 45 games in which he played.

Maine Head Football Coach Jack Cosgrove described Jovan as a "tremendous student-athlete."

"His move to the NFL was in keeping with his dreams," Cosgrove said in a statement released by the university today. "This is an indescribably horrible tragedy. At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Jovan, Kasandra and their families."

Belcher signed with the Chiefs as a rookie free agent, started 15 of 16 games his second season and last year started all 16 games as left inside linebacker.

Belcher expressed gratitude for his NFL career in an article posted on Nov. 21 on the Chiefs' website that has since been taken down.

"First and foremost, God. Family and friends just keeping me focused, coaches and just everyone," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio