ST. LOUIS -- A man has been charged with the shooting death of his friend's girlfriend and her unborn baby.
30-year-old Jocelyn Peters was 7 months pregnant when she was found shot to death in her CWE home on March 24. The third grade teacher's apartment was unlocked with no evidence of forced entry when her boyfriend found her lying dead in her room.
Only two sets of keys existed for the apartment, one in the possession of the boyfriend and the other with Jocelyn Peters. Phone records between Peters' boyfriend and his friend 35-year-old Phillip Cutler show that the boyfriend, a St. Louis Public School's employee, asked Cutler to visit St. Louis during spring break.
Cutler asked the boyfriend to send "the package" and one was sent overnight from St. Louis on March 8.
Cutler came to St. Louis and was located through cell phone GPS near the Peters' apartment around the time she was murdered. The boyfriend was out of town when his friend traveled to St. Louis. The boyfriend's car keys along with keys to Peters' apartment were left in his car while he was out of town giving Cutler access to Peters' apartment.
Peters' boyfriend was questioned by police the day her body was found. The boyfriend told police that he was using his phone call to contact his daughter, but instead called his estranged wife to meet Cutler at a gas station to give him keys to the boyfriend's car which was parked outside Peters' apartment. The car had already been towed by police.
Police interrupted the meeting between the estranged wife and Cutler. Officers took Cutler to the headquarters the night following Peters' death. Cutler later traveled back to Muskogee.
Phillip Cutler has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. He is currently being held in Muskogee without bond.
The family of Jocelyn Peters told NewsChannel 5 on Friday they believe she might have been the victim of a calculated murder for hire plot.
They said she and her boyfriend, who is not charged in the case, were expecting a baby girl in two months, but that he remained married to the mother of his other daughter.
“It’s mindboggling on why this had to happen,” said Peters’ great aunt Sheryle Peters.
Peters added that Jocelyn was a very trusting, loving and hardworking person who was always willing to help people in need.
“From a little girl at age three or four, she was always helping somebody or doing something for someone,” Peters said.
She called the arrest of Cutler a big sigh of relief for the family, but that they still have more questions than answers about what really happened.
Prosecutors declined to call this a murder for hire case, but said Peters’ death was not random.
They said they have technical and physical evidence that place Cutler near the scene. Court documents suggest he worked with Peters’ boyfriend to carry out the crimes.
"The boyfriend left town and the defendant came into town and he was there in the vicinity when she was murdered,” said Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.