Kasandra Perkins, the victim of the NFL murder-suicide by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher will be buried today, five days after he shot the mother of his child and killed himself less than an hour later.
The funeral for the 22-year-old mother is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Ridgeview Family Fellowship Church in Blue Ridge, Texas at 1 p.m. CT. Blue Ridge is 50 miles from Dallas.
As news of the funeral emerges, the NFL has also come forward to say that it will support Belcher's and Perkins' 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, who was left without parents after the horrific tragedy on Saturday. Zoey will receive $108,000 a year for four years, according to NFL.com. When she turns 5, she will get $48,000, then $52,000 a year until she is 18 or 23, depending on whether she goes to college.
The last five days have been a nightmare for the family, friends and teammates of Jovan Belcher who still can't understand what made the affable linebacker snap. Though relatives said the relationship between the new parents was strained, happy, smiling Facebook photos told another tale.
Kasandra's cousin, Angela Perkins, told Newsday that after spending time at the couple's home recently she saw there was strain in the relationship. "There was just a lot going on. She was stressed. He was stressed," she said. "It just started to go bad, but they had the child, and they were trying to make it work."
Nevertheless Belcher's mother, Cheryl E. Shepherd, told The New York Times that Kasandra Perkins was "like her own daughter." After Perkins, 22, was shot she was taken to the hospital. But she died shortly afterwards.
It is also believed that Jovan Belcher may have had a relationship on the side with a woman named Brittni Glass. "I was with him that night, that's it," Glass told the Post.
A neighbor corroborated the story. "His Bentley was parked outside," a neighbor said. "He went upstairs. He was drunk. He went up to see the girl."
Jovan Belcher allegedly visited Brittni Glass several times over the past few months, but Brittni Glass declined to comment on their relationship, the Post reported.
Yet friends were still grasping for answers on the couple's Facebook pages this week. After Perkins posted a photo of Zoey at a week old 139 friends clicked like. "Awwwww!," Raven Cruz-Owens wrote. "Shes beautiful! Cant believe this beautiful being swam with us when we swam with the sharks! Beautiful memories! Hope to see u soon! Congrats!"
Al Ritacco, Belcher's former high school coach at West Babylon, doesn't understand it at all. "He was a great kid - this is out of character,'' he told USA Today. "I find this very hard to comprehend. As a teacher, I've seen kids who were troubled. But [not] this guy. He was an outstanding individual, a kid I looked up to.
"If he had a negative side, I never saw it. He was a positive kid - determined to make something [of his life]. ... When he was here [Nov. 20 for homecoming], he [had become] a father and he was beaming about that.''
Now Ritacco - like so many others - is left wondering how such a senseless crime could have occurred.