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Man was hired by principal to kill pregnant Missouri teacher, feds say. He’s convicted

Kansas City Star
A man who authorities say was hired by a school principal to kill a pregnant teacher has been found guilty of the murder-for-hire killing, a federal jury ruled.

Phillip Cutler, of Oklahoma, was found guilty on Tuesday, March 19, of murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire following the 2016 fatal shooting of Jocelyn Peters in her St. Louis home, according to KSDK and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The man accused of hiring Cutler, former Missouri middle school principal Cornelius Green, pleaded guilty in February to his role in the killing, McClatchy News reported.

Green stole $2,500 from Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School in St. Louis and gave the money to his longtime friend, Cutler, according to court documents. Cutler was tasked with traveling from Oklahoma to kill Peters, who Green had impregnated.

Authorities said Green went to Chicago on March 22, 2016, to establish an alibi. Meanwhile, Cutler drove Green’s vehicle to Peters’ home.

“Cutler … unlawfully entered Jocelyn Peters’ apartment … found Peters in her bed, shot her with a .380 caliber firearm in her head, using a potato as a silencer to muffle the sound of the shot,” according to court records. “Jocelyn Peters and her unborn child were killed as a result of … Cutler shooting Peters in the head.”

Green and Cutler faced local charges months after the killing. In 2022, they were indicted by a federal grand jury.

They are scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Peters, 30, taught at Horace Mann Elementary School. She was described by school principal Nicole Conaway as “someone who cared deeply about children, not only about their learning, but about who they were in making them into better people,” according to KTVI.

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