ST. LOUIS – An Oklahoma man appeared in federal court on Tuesday to be sentenced for the 2016 murder-for-hire of Jocelyn Peters, a St. Louis Public School teacher, and her unborn child.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Phillip J. Cutler, 46, was convicted in March of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and acting upon a murder-for-hire. Cornelius M. Green, 42, the man who hired Butler, pleaded guilty in February to the same charges.

Federal prosecutors reported that Green had sexual relationships with other women in a sentencing memo. He was also researching ways to secretly end Peters’ pregnancy. When that didn’t work, Green contacted Cutler, his longtime friend.

Peters was found shot to death inside her Central West End apartment on March 24, 2016. Peters, 30, was seven months pregnant at the time of her murder. She taught third grade at Horace Mann Elementary School in the Tower Grove neighborhood of south St. Louis.

On March 7, 2016, Green sent a UPS package to Cutler containing $2,500 as a retainer for the crime. Green, who was principal at Carr Lane Middle School at the time, used cash stolen from the school to pay for the murder.

Cutler arrived in town and Green fled to Chicago to establish an alibi on March 21. Three days later, Cutler went inside Peters’ apartment and shot her in the eye, using a potato as a silencer.

Peters was working on baby shower invitations when she was killed.

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When Cutler confirmed to Green that both Peters and the unborn baby were dead, Green bought a train ticket and returned to St. Louis. Cutler traveled to North River Front Park to dispose of any evidence.

Green called the police when he arrived back at the apartment and reported Peters’ death. Prosecutors said he made several false statements to law enforcement, claiming he had no prior involvement or knowledge of the murder.

When Cutler was told he was being detained that same night, he ate two pieces of paper from a notebook in his pockets.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Cutler to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment and called Cutler’s actions the “most heinous” crime he’s seen in his career on the bench.

Meanwhile, Green will be sentenced on June 25; he faces life in federal prison. Green pleaded guilty in federal court with the hope of avoiding a death penalty trial in St. Louis Circuit Court. According to the plea agreement, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office will consider dismissing its charges against Green if he’s sentenced to life imprisonment on each count in the federal case. The plea agreement is not binding for either the Circuit Attorney’s Office or the federal judge presiding over the case.