Principal used school money to hire hitman to kill teacher he impregnated, feds say

A former principal of a Missouri middle school pleaded guilty in the murder-for-hire killing of a teacher he impregnated, federal officials say.

In 2016, Cornelius Green was accused of stealing $2,500 from Carr Lane Visual and Performing Arts Middle School in St. Louis to set up the murder-for-hire plot, federal prosecutors said. Green had worked for the school since 2002, KTVI reported.

Green sent the money to his longtime friend, Phillip Cutler, who was directed to kill Jocelyn Peters, according to the federal indictment. Peters, 30, was a third grade teacher at Mann Elementary School in St. Louis, according to KSDK, and was 27 weeks pregnant with Green’s child.

Green, who was married, went to Chicago on March 22, 2016, to establish an alibi as Cutler drove to Peters’ home two days later in Green’s vehicle, prosecutors said.

“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 co-defendant Cutler shooting Peters in the head.”

Principal had mother of his unborn child killed after Missouri affair, feds say

Authorities said the principal later went to Peters’ home and called 911 to say she was shot. He pretended he did not know of the circumstances of her death, according to prosecutors.

Green faced local charges related to Peters’ death seven months after the killing. He was federally indicted in 2022.

Now, nearly eight years after Peters was killed, Green has pleaded guilty to murder-for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire, court records show. His sentencing is scheduled for June 5.

Green also faced two first-degree murder charges from local authorities. Those charges will be dropped if Green receives a life sentence on his federal murder-for-hire charges, KSDK reported.

Cutler is also facing federal charges, and a jury trial is scheduled for March 11.

Nicole Conaway, the principal at Mann Elementary School, described Peters 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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