Police: Man on Trial for Burglary Ordered Witness Murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A man on trial for burglary now faces a murder charge after he was recorded on a jailhouse phone ordering the slaying of a witness, police said.

Jecorian McCray, 23, ordered his 17-year-old stepbrother to murder the witness after efforts to bribe him failed, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Lt. Steve Gallaher said at a news conference.

“He walked (his stepbrother) through the step-by-step process of what he needed to do to kill them,” Gallaher said.

Police said Jonathan Brenton, 48, was fatally shot early Wednesday standing in his home’s doorway. He was scheduled to testify later that day.

His wife and daughter were inside the house when Brenton was shot but were unharmed, police said.

Investigators said thousands of dollars in jewelry was stolen from Brenton’s home in 2014. McCray, an acquaintance of Brenton’s daughter, was on trial for the burglary after being identified by Brenton in a surveillance video, according to the Florida Times-Union newspaper.

Gallaher said McCray had become increasingly worried about a long jail sentence, and put his plot in motion.

Jailhouse calls show McCray told his girlfriend to bribe the Brentons. On Tuesday, she talked with Brenton’s wife, who said they wouldn’t change their testimony and had already gone on the record with authorities, Gallaher said.

Once McCray learned the bribe had failed, he then ordered Brenton’s murder, police said.

McCray and his stepbrother are charged with murder. The Associated Press isn’t naming the stepbrother due to his age.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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