Former principal learns fate after hiring friend to kill girlfriend

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Former principal learns fate after hiring friend to kill girlfriend

A former Missouri principal learned his fate after admitting he hired his friend to kill his pregnant girlfriend in 2016 with money stolen from a St. Louis middle school.

Federal prosecutors announced in a press release that Cornelius Green, a former principal at Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and one count of murder-for-hire and sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison.

Green’s two consecutive life sentences mean that he will have to wait at least 50 years to be considered for parole.

His sentence came after authorities said that he hired his friend, 46-year-old Phillip Cutler, to kill his girlfriend, 30-year-old Jocelyn Peters, and her unborn child, Micah Leigh. 

Cutler was charged with the same sentence this week.

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Cornelius Green, formerly a principal at Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School, stole money intended for a field trip to pay Phillip Cutler $2,500 dollars to kill his pregnant girlfriend, prosecutors say. (St. Louis City Justice Center)

Green, who was married at the time, previously admitted to hiring his friend to kill Peters, who was seven months pregnant at the time.

Federal prosecutors said that Green and Cutler planned the murder in a series of phone calls.

Authorities said that Green sent Cutler a UPS package in March 2021 with $2,500 to pay for the horrific murder of his pregnant girlfriend.

Peter's buying potatos at grocery store

Green had Peters buy potatoes days before her own murder, prosecutors said. (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri)

The former principal admitted he used stolen funds stolen from the school to finance the murder-for-hire.

“He literally stole from children to pay for killing his own child,” said Dr. Nicole Conaway, the principal of Mann Elementary.

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Authorities said that Green took a train trip to Chicago to establish his alibi for the murder and gave Cutler the keys to his Kia Optima and Peters’ apartment. 

Cutler arrived at Peters’ apartment and let himself inside with the keys provided and shot her, authorities said. Prosecutors said that he used a potato as a silencer.

Peters was sitting at the kitchen table and preparing baby shower invitations at the time of her murder — which was funded by her boyfriend.

Jocelyn Peters

Third grade teacher Jocelyn Peters was remembered as “someone who cared deeply about children,” People reported. She was shot dead as she slept in the early hours of March 24.  (Jocelyn Peters on Facebook)

After Cutler confirmed that Jocelyn and the baby had been killed, Green bought a return train ticket. 

When Green got back to St. Louis, he first attempted to get Peters’ mother to “check on her,” knowing what she would find, authorities said.

“The depravity of asking a mother to go find Jocelyn’s body, knowing she was dead, can’t be matched,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Becker said during Tuesday’s hearing.

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Authorities said that Green eventually went to Peters’ apartment and feigned surprise when he called 911 to report her death.

“He pretended he had no knowledge of the circumstances leading to the deaths, lying to police and getting Cutler and others to conceal evidence,” federal prosecutors said. “Cutler was detained for questioning that same night, after he attempted to retrieve the Kia Optima from the crime scene at Green’s direction.”

Phillip Cutler

Phillip Cutler was Green’s childhood friend. Prosecutors say Green gave him keys to Peters’ apartment, where he shot her.  (St. Louis City Justice Center)

In February, Green and Cutler pleaded guilty in the murder of Peters and her baby.

Legally, Green was married to another woman at the time of the killing and involved in several other romantic relationships, authorities said.

With her relationship with Green, Peters had miscarried before and terminated one pregnancy at his urging.

Prosecutors also alleged that Green was “researching ways to secretly poison” her by crushing pills and hiding them in oatmeal or yogurt.

When the poisoning failed, Green turned to his friend to plot the death of his girlfriend and child, police said.

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Peters’ cousin, Dedra Peters, said that her death left the “family empty and heartbroken.”

“Jocelyn had a light around her at all times,” she said. “[Jocelyn] touched the heart of anyone she came in contact with.”

Peters’ mother, Lacey Peters, said Green was supposed to be Peters’ protector but became her executioner. 

“All she ever did was love him,” Lacey Peters said, adding, “and she loved that baby so much.”



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