Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 29, 2024

Cornelius Green Sentenced in Teacher Murder-For-Hire Plot

Former St. Louis middle school principal Cornelius M. Green's criminal actions have shocked the community after receiving two consecutive life sentences for orchestrating the murder-for-hire of teacher Jocelyn Peters and her unborn child.

Green worked with Phillip J. Cutler, who also received life terms, in a plot that culminated in the deaths of Peters and her child, Micah Leigh, in 2016, as USA Today reports, after his February decision to plead guilty, to one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and one count of murder-for-hire.

The Timeline Leading to Tragedy

The crime's planning and execution began on March 24, 2016, when Green arranged for the death of Jocelyn Peters, who was 30 years old and more than 27 weeks pregnant with his child. Peters' unborn child, Micah Leigh, tragically died alongside her.

Green paid Phillip J. Cutler, his friend, $2,500 to carry out the murder. The amount, Green later admitted, was stolen from a school dance team fundraiser. His actions not only betrayed the school's trust but also led to a tragic loss of life.

Green and Peters were romantically involved, despite him being married and involved with other women. Their complicated relationship saw past instances where Green pressured Peters to terminate pregnancies, but she was steadfast in her decision to keep Micah Leigh.

Plot Details and Execution

Green's callous planning included researching various ways to kill Peters, even considering poisoning. However, he eventually collaborated with Cutler, bolstering their conspiracy. On March 7, 2016, Green sent a $2,500 UPS package to Cutler, who agreed to murder Peters upon receiving payment on March 8.

Cutler traveled from Oklahoma to St. Louis on March 21, staying at Green's home. Just a day later, Green left for Chicago, creating an alibi while leaving his car and Peters' apartment keys with Cutler.

On March 24, 2016, using Green's car, Cutler drove to Peters' apartment. There, he shot Peters in the head while she was planning for her baby shower, using a potato as a silencer. He immediately informed Green of the completed crime over the phone.

Efforts to Build Alibi

To solidify his alibi, Green purchased an Amtrak ticket from Chicago to St. Louis, then called 911 after arriving back in the city. He made numerous false statements to the police, attempting to divert suspicion from himself. Adding to his deceit, Green urged Jocelyn's mother, Lacey Peters, to check on her daughter. Lacey Peters later reflected on her daughter's love for Green, stating that "all she ever did was love him."

Nicole Conaway commented on Green’s actions, highlighting the gravity of his betrayal: "He literally stole from children to pay for killing his own child."

Legal Consequences and Emotional Reactions

Both Green and Cutler faced the justice system and received their respective sentences. Green was convicted by a judge in the Eastern District of Missouri. Cutler, who ate two pieces of paper upon detainment, was similarly found guilty and sentenced to two life terms.

The emotional toll on Peters' family has been immense. Tiffany Becker emphasized the cruelty of Green’s deceitful actions: "The depravity of asking a mother to go find Jocelyn’s body, knowing she was dead, can’t be matched." Dedra Peters, reflecting on Jocelyn's character, noted, “Jocelyn had a light around her at all times,” adding that her untimely death left the family "empty and heartbroken."

In sum, the case of Cornelius M. Green has left a deep scar on the St. Louis community. His actions not only cost the lives of Jocelyn Peters and her unborn child but also shattered the trust and compassion once connected to him. The legal consequences reflect the severity of his crimes, underscoring the heinous nature of his betrayal and the profound impact on Peters' loved ones.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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