The source of the conflict between Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins may have been over who was the actual father of their three-month old daughter Zoey.
Cheryl Shepherd, Belcher’s mother who was present when Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, fatally shot Perkins last Saturday morning, reportedly told police that paternity of the infant was an issue in the couple’s contentious relationship according to the New York Post:
” ‘The mother believed that there was an issue over whether [Belcher] was the father,” said a source close to the Chiefs with knowledge of the situation. ‘She said he [believed he] wasn’t necessarily the father of the child.’
“A Kansas City law-enforcement source confirmed, ‘She told [police] there was a question about the paternity.’
“It’s unclear if the paternity issue was the reason for the final, violent end of the troubled relationship between Belcher, 25, and Perkins, 22. ‘But the implication was that [paternity] was what the two of them were fighting about — that the baby might not have been his,’ a source said.”
Belcher took his own life at the Chiefs’ practice facility later that morning.
Paternity could be significant in connection with the NFL survivor benefits for which the child is currently eligible. Zoey is scheduled to receive $9,000 per month over the next four years . She’ll receive $48,000 during year five and $52,000 per year after that until she turns 18 or 23 depending on her college situation. She will also receive $600,000 in life insurance and $200,000 for each of Belcher’s credited NFL seasons along with a $100,000 retirement account.
A guardian and/or a trustee will be appointed to handle these funds for the child until she comes of age. Cheryl Shepherd, Belcher’s mother, has temporary custody of the baby, but a court will have to make a final determination who will raise Zoey in terms of primary custody.
The Post asked the NFL about the necessity of a paternity test for the benefits but the league did not respond.
In the meantime, a Kansas City police spokesman disagreed with the Post story, saying that “[Shepherd] did not mention anything at all regarding an argument over paternity,” according to USA Today.