ST. LOUIS, MO – A former St. Louis school principal and his childhood friend are facing charges in the 2016 deaths of a pregnant teacher and her unborn child as a federal grand jury returned indictments last week on the two men.
Jocelyn Peters, 30, was found shot to death inside her Central West End apartment on March 24, 2016. Peters, who was seven months pregnant, taught third grade at Horace Mann Elementary School in the Tower Grove neighborhood of south city.
Prosecutors at the time called the murder of Jocelyn Peters “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman.”
After Oklahoma resident Phillip Cutler was arrested in 2016 in connection with the killing, St. Louis homicide detectives learned that he and Cornelius Green, who was Peters’ boyfriend at the time, were longtime friends.
The federal indictment alleges that Green, who was married, was cheating on his spouse with Peters and got her pregnant in 2015.
The federal indictment alleges Cornelius Green, who was married, had a romantic relationship with Jocelyn Peters and was the father of her unborn child. https://t.co/01ee5EKGbY
— KSDK News (@ksdknews) March 10, 2022
At the time, Green was the principal at Carr Lane Visual & Performing Arts Middle School in St. Louis. Geen had begun working for the school district in 2002 as a teacher. He eventually became an assistant principal and then a principal, according to St. Louis Public Schools.
Prosecutors contend that in 2016, Green concocted a plan to murder his pregnant girlfriend, who was just two months shy of giving birth. He spoke with his friend, Cutler, about committing the murder and offered him money for the deed.
In announcing the original charges against Green of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and burglary, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said:
“The evidence shows that he hired someone to kill her.”
In addition to the murder charges, the former principal was accused of stealing $2,700 from dance students who raised the money for a field trip.
Grand Jury Indicts Former St. Louis School Principal and Co-Conspirator in Murder-for-Hire Plot: Cornelius M. Green and Phillip J. Cutler have been indicted for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire. https://t.co/kLUVg430cT
— FBI St. Louis (@FBIStLouis) March 11, 2022
Prosecutors outlined the pair’s alleged scheme: On March 21, Cutler came to St. Louis and stayed at Green’s home. The following day, Green traveled to Chicago so that he wouldn’t be in town when Peters was killed. Cutler entered Peters’ apartment and found her in bed, where he shot her before fleeing.
Homicide detectives with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said Peters’ boyfriend discovered her lying in bed unconscious in her apartment, located in the 4200 block of West Pine Boulevard. There were no signs of forced entry into the apartment and police did not find a gun at the scene.
Green and Cutler have been incarcerated since 2017 awaiting trial. They were previously charged for the murders by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, which said it would seek the death penalty for both men.
The principal at Horace Mann Elementary School, Nicole Conaway, posted this comment on the school’s website after the murder:
“It amazes me the great, positive impact she had on so many lives in such a short period of time … The blessings she bestowed on all of us will be remembered and cherished for many, many years to come.”
Before becoming a teacher, Peters worked for Urban Future, where she supervised a tutoring and mentoring program at Fanning Middle School. Urban Future CEO Frank Van Bree described Peters as dedicated to helping urban children succeed.
Longtime Democratic operative pleads guilty to murder-for-hire plot to kill a former state senator’s son
February 17, 2022
JERSEY CITY, NJ – A man in Philadelphia has admitted in federal court to being one of two people who were paid to kill a one-time associate of a political consultant.
Bomani Africa, 61, admitted he killed a Jersey City man who had worked with Sean Caddle, a former advisor to political candidates, at Caddle's request and received thousands of dollars for the hit, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced. https://t.co/h7YjaNdWLx
— NorthJersey.com (@northjersey) January 26, 2022
The man, identified as 61-year-old Bomani Africa, appeared in federal court via videoconference in front of U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
Africa’s partner, Sean Caddle, plead guilty to the case on January 25th in front of the same judge.
Federal court documents that were released show that Caddle had requested an associate of his, who was not named, to kill an unnamed opponent for thousands of dollars. That unnamed person then recruited Africa to join in the murder plot, who agreed.
Once both the unidentified suspect and Africa informed Caddle they would commit the murder, they were told the victim who had worked for him for a long period of time. The victim worked for Caddle on various political campaigns in New Jersey.
Federal authorities advised that Africa and the unnamed accomplice then traveled from out-of-state to the victim’s apartment in Jersey City. Once there, they made entry into the victim’s apartment and stabbed him to death.
Federal authorities did not advise how the two were able to gain entry.
Sean Caddle and Bomani Africa, one of the men hired by Caddle, both pled guilty to conspiring to commit murder-for-hire, according to the Associated Press (AP). 2/3
— ChristianBlogger @Suzzabella @Smartobella (@ChristianviewB) January 28, 2022
Once the victim was dead, the unnamed person set the victim’s apartment on fire and left the scene.
When Africa and the other suspect contacted Caddle to inform him that the murder had been committed, he met with the suspect in a parking lot in Elizabeth, New Jersey to pay him. Once he was paid, he split the money with Africa for the murder.
Africa will now be sentenced in federal court for conspiracy to commit murder on June 7th. Africa, who has a violent history, including robbery convictions, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for the murder of the victim.
The U.S. Attorney for the case, Philip R. Sellinger, noted the hard work and dedication of the special agents from the FBI under the lead of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr. Sellinger also noted the hard work and cooperation of the Hudson County Prosecutors Office.
Sellinger released a statement on this crime, calling it “callous.” He wrote:
“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant [Caddle] is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife. There is no more serious crime than the taking of another person’s life.
[Caddle] has admitted arranging and paying for a murder by two other people. His admission of guilt means he will now pay for his crime.”
NEW: Federal prosecutors confirm victim of murder-for-hire plot was Michael Galdieri.
Political consultant Sean Caddle's co-conspirator Bomani Africa just admitted in federal court he and another man killed Galdieri in May 2014 for $1,000s in cash from Caddle. @News12NJ
— Alex Zdan (@ActualAlexZ) January 26, 2022
While federal authorities did not name the victim in the case, multiple media outlets are reporting the victim in the case was Michael Galdeiere, the son of former Democratic State Senator James Galdeiere. Michael was a well-known political figure in Hudson County politics.
Galdieri was stabbed to death in his apartment which was then set on fire in May of 2014. The case went cold for several years until this recent federal case which is seemingly connected to Africa and Caddle’s guilty plea.
Special Agent in Charge Crouch spoke about the guilty case and how it would bring closure to the family of the victims. He said:
“Today’s guilty plea will bring some sense of closure to the victim’s family who have been left to wonder – for nearly eight years – who murdered their loved one.
This should serve as a warning to criminals and potential criminals alike – while you are going about your life, thinking ‘got away with it,’ the FBI is piecing together the facts that will serve as your undoing.”
Alvarez’s mother tried to perform CPR on her daughter. Machado told 2 Houston:
“I tried CPR. I couldn’t bring her back. I tried so hard to keep her alive.
“He was just angry at my daughter. It wasn’t love, it wasn’t a breakup, he was angry at my daughter.”
Machado had told FOX 26 that she did not realize that her daughter was planning to meet someone when she left the home to presumably walk the family’s dog:
“I didn’t know she was going to meet him here. She just told me, ‘Can I walk the dog?’ That’s what she told me, and I said, ‘OK, don’t take long, 20 minutes.’”
Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots and then the sound of tires screeching as a vehicle left the area, according to the Houston Police Department.
It was also reported that at least two people initially got out and then returned to the dark-colored vehicle and left the scene.
While detectives have determined those individuals were not involved in the shooting, they still want to interview them.
Machado said that her daughter was a sophomore and honor student at Madison High School and that she had planned on attending cosmetology school one day. The mother said:
“I loved everything about my daughter, I don’t regret anything. I’m at peace because I gave her all the kisses and all the hugs. I have to be strong now. I can’t break, this is not over.”
Machado told FOX 26 she never liked Deleon, even though he and Alvarez were childhood friends who lived just blocks from each other in the neighborhood.
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