A former middle school principal has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant girlfriend, whom he allegedly paid a friend to kill.
Cornelius Green, 35, of the 200 block of North 17th Street, was indicted Thursday by the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office in the death of Jocelyn Peters, a third-grade teacher at Mann Elementary School. The indictment was sealed until Tuesday.
Peters, 30, was seven months pregnant when she was found shot to death March 24 in her apartment in the 4200 block of West Pine Boulevard in the Central West End.
Green was the one who found Peters, according to the district attorney’s office. He was also the father of Peters’ unborn child.
Green paid his childhood friend, Phillip J. Cutler, to kill Peters, according to charging documents.
Cutler, 36, of Muskogee, Okla., was charged in June with two counts each of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of Peters.
Green is being held on the same charges. His bail is set at $3 million, cash only.
He also faces three felony counts of receiving stolen property. Green was charged in August with stealing $2,700 from dance students who had raised the money for a spring break field trip while he was principal of Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School.
The theft occurred about three weeks before Peters’ death. Authorities were investigating a possible link between the killing of Peters and the thefts.
Green was principal of Carr Lane until he was reassigned to an information technology job in St. Louis Public Schools over the summer. He had also disposed of more than $500 in school district money through several unauthorized transactions, the circuit attorney’s office said Tuesday.
The court documents allege:
There were no signs of forced entry to Peters’ apartment the day she was found dead. Both the door to the apartment complex and Peters’ home were secured with locks and required keys to open them, but investigators found no evidence of forced entry on either of the doors. Green had one of the two sets of keys for the doors. The other set was Peters’.
Green sent Cutler $2,500 in cash March 20, a day before Cutler came to St. Louis from Oklahoma. He arrived by Greyhound bus late in the evening March 21. Green picked Cutler up at the bus station. They drove by Peters’ apartment, which was not along any route between the bus station and where Cutler stayed while he was in St. Louis.
Green left for the Chicago area the next morning. Cutler drove Green to the Amtrak station. Green left the car and his keys, including a key to Peters’ apartment, with Cutler. Green and Cutler would continue to text each other while Green was out of town.
The car was caught on surveillance video on Peters’ street about 3 a.m. the day Peters was found. Information obtained from Cutler’s cellphone provider revealed that his phone was near Peters’ apartment at the time.
After Peters’ body was found, Green went with police to police headquarters, where he asked to use his phone to call his daughter.
Instead, he called his estranged wife and asked her to meet Cutler at a gas station at McCausland Avenue and Highway 40 (Interstate 64) so she could give him the spare keys to Green’s car.
He instructed her to tell Cutler that he was to go and get the car from where he left it near Peters’ apartment.
Police interrupted the meeting between Green’s wife and Cutler and took Cutler to police headquarters. He was later arrested in Muskogee, where he was charged and indicted. He is being held in St. Louis with his bail set at $1 million.
Green’s estranged wife is not facing charges at this time, a spokesperson with the circuit attorney’s office said Tuesday night.
Green has worked for St. Louis Public Schools since 2002. He became principal of Carr Lane in 2013. Prior to that, he was principal of Fanning Middle School.
Reached Tuesday evening, St. Louis Public Schools spokesman Patrick Wallace had no comment.
Date Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 , Total Page Views: 1002
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