Married St. Louis principal pleads guilty to hiring hitman to kill his pregnant teacher girlfriend and her unborn baby


A married Missouri middle school principal who hired a friend to kill his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child has pleaded guilty to the 2016 murder-for-hire plot.

Cornelius M. Green, who was principal at Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School in St. Louis, was accused of orchestrating the murder of 30-year-old Jocelyn Peters and her unborn baby on March 24, 2016.

Green pleaded guilty to the federal charges of murder for hire conspiracy and murder for hire on Wednesday.

Under the plea agreement, if Green is sentenced to life in prison on the federal charges, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office will drop state charges connected with the killings, which prosecutors had said they’d seek the death penalty.

Peters was found fatally shot March 24 in her apartment. She was 30, and seven months pregnant with a baby girl. (Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP file)

Peters was found fatally shot March 24 in her apartment. She was 30, and seven months pregnant with a baby girl. (Laurie Skrivan / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP file)

Stolen money and a fake alibi

Despite being married, Green “was involved in multiple romantic relationships with other women” and had an ongoing romantic relationship with Peters, according to his March 2022 indictment.

Peters became pregnant with his child in 2015, court documents said.

Green devised a plan to murder Peters and her unborn baby, by stealing money from the school he oversaw to pay off his close friend in Oklahoma, Phillip J. Cutler, to conduct the killing, the indictment purported.

Green texted Cutler on Feb. 29, 2016, to come to St. Louis the week of March 20, 2016 and Culter responded “Ok, that will work, u gonna b sending the pacge?”

Days later, Green sent Cutler a package with $2,500, and used the middle school’s address when sending it.

Cutler traveled from Oklahoma to St. Louis on March 21, 2016. The following day Green and Cutler together took Green’s 2013 white Kia Optima to an Amtrak train station and Green took the train to Chicago, leaving Cutler with the Kia and keys, including ones that access Peters’ apartment, according to charging documents.

Green traveled to Chicago to establish an alibi for Peters’ death, the indictment said.

On March 24, 2016, Cutler entered Peters’ apartment, found her in bed and shot her with a firearm to the head, and used a “a potato as a silencer to muffle the sound of the shot,” the indictment said.

She was more than 27 weeks pregnant at the time.

Cutler then called Green to report that the murder had been conducted.

That same day, Green used his phone and a Visa credit card to purchase an Amtrak train ticket back to St. Louis from Chicago’s Union Station so there would be verification he was in Chicago at the time of the slaying.

When he returned to St. Louis, he went to Peters’ home and called 911 to report she was shot — “falsely pretending that he had no knowledge of the circumstances leading her death,” according to court documents.

Green’s sentencing is set for June 5.

An attorney for Green, Nicholas Williams, said Friday: “Mr. Green understood his choices and made the one that did not compound the tragedy of this situation.”

Cutler was also federally charged with murder for hire conspiracy and murder for hire. His trial is slated to start March 11.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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