Surveillance video shows burglary that police say led to murder

Police say man facing burglary trial recruited brother to kill witness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Video from a home surveillance system showing the burglary of a University of North Florida employee who was later killed appears to show the two men accused in the murder ransacking the house.

Jecorian McCray, 23, is charged orchestrating this murder of Joe Brenton early in the morning the day the UNF IT employee was scheduled to testify at McCray's burglary trial. His 17-year-old stepbrother, Dakarai Maxwell, is accused of committing the murder.

McCray and Maxwell were acquaintances of Brenton's daughter.

Evidence photos obtained by News4Jax appear to show McCray and his 17-year-old stepbrother, Dakarai Maxwell, searching a bedroom Brenton's home for prescription drugs. Police said jewelry and checks were also stolen.

"They've got it on video," a detective told McCray after he was arrested. "I've got you on video wiping your fingerprints off a light switch and searching through the jewelry box."

Jailhouse calls released earlier this month detailed what police say is McCray ordering a hit against Brenton which was carried out by Maxwell. Brenton was shot and killed at his Oceanway home in September, hours before he was slated to testify against McCray in the 2014 burglary case.

UNCUT: Surveillance video of burglary at Brenton home

Police said McCray, who had been in jail since January 2015 on the burglary charges, can be heard in the jailhouse calls giving detailed instructions to 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."

When the bribery attempt didn't work, McCray turned to more lethal measures, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Acting on information in those recordings, police obtained arrest warrants charging McCray and Maxwell with murder, 19-year-old Demetris Ford with criminal conspiracy and Shelton with tampering with a witness.

Maxwell is accused of shooting and killing Brenton, and is being tried as an adult in the murder case. He and McCray have been arraigned in that case.

Last week, McCray was charged attempted escape from jail and criminal mischief. 

News4Jax crime analyst Gil Smith said police already had a solid burglary case with video like this, but now both men are facing much harsher penalties for Brenton’s murder.

"It's very sad that (Brenton)had to lose his life. First of all, he was a victim of a crime. And then because he wants something done about it," Smith said. 

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.