Jailhouse calls detail hit ordered against UNF employee

Prosecutors say teen followed stepbrother's orders in killing Joe Brenton

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Grim, vulgar jailhouse calls released Thursday detail what police say is a 23-year-old man ordering a hit against a university employee that was carried out by his 17-year-old stepbrother.

That University of North Florida employee, Joe Brenton, was shot and killed at his Oceanway home in September, hours before he was slated to testify against Jecorian McCray in a 2014 burglary case.

Police say McCray can be heard in the jailhouse calls giving detailed instructions to his stepbrother, Dakarai Maxwell, about killing someone.

McCray sounds desperate, saying, “Wednesday is the deadline,” and that “after Wednesday, there's nothing else” because he'll be convicted. Several times, McCray tells Maxwell to “get that handled up.”

Detectives investigating the homicide listened to the jail recordings, which also include McCray talking about getting his 21-year-old girlfriend, Teirany Shelton, to visit Brenton's home and ask him to take back his statements about the burglary because McCray was "looking at 30 years."

"She said she wished she could say anything else, but she can't. I guess they're supposed to be asking, or two questions, if it's you, if it's him. And was your house broken into," Shelton said in one of the calls. "I said, 'I can give you money, anything you need.'"

Police said when the bribery attempt didn't work, McCray turned to more lethal measures.

From the jail, McCray described to Maxwell what to do when he walked up to Brenton's door.

“I don't think you are going to do all that, but that's why I'm telling you to knock on the door. So I'm telling you this is, 'I'm such and such and such and such a Jacksonville you feel me? We are here to question you. And they're going to be like, and open that big -- boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. You feel me?” McCray said. “When you see them come to that bit and you see their a**, you know that you got that see-through glass s*** -- wet that s*** up. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom through that bit, you feel me?”

In a different call, McCray pleaded with his stepbrother, telling Maxwell he was out of time to "handle up."

"Listen bro, n**** just picked the jury yesterday, so I'm going to trial tomorrow," McCray said. "That s**** mandatory, you hear me? Man-da-tory. Do you hear me?"

Local defense attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters, who is not affiliated with the case, listened to the jailhouse calls, saying it's sad, disturbing and stunning that the defendants spoke so openly. She said suspects usually talk in more of a code. 

"Because they have this claimer. Everybody has (been) told, kind of, from the beginning of your arrest, do not talk on the jail phone calls. You know they're recording it. That's the talk as soon as they hit the jail. So for this to be so clear and explanatory, it's pretty shocking," Peoples-Waters said.

Brenton, 48, was found dead inside his home on VC Johnson Road just before 3 a.m. the day he was set to testify.

Maxwell is accused of shooting and killing him, and is being tried as an adult in the case. McCray is also facing a murder charge for orchestrating the killing, police said.

Both have been arraigned in the murder case.

Shelton is charged with tampering with a witness, and 19-year-old Demetris Ford is charged with criminal conspiracy.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.