Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Jacksonville witness murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The State Attorney's Office intends to seek the death penalty for Jecorian McCray if he is found guilty of first-degree murder in the September 2016 slaying of a witness.

McCray, 24, is accused of masterminding the plot to kill University of North Florida employee Joe Brenton and using jailhouse calls to recruit his teen stepbrother to carry out the killing.

Brenton was gunned down at his Oceanway home Sept. 21 to keep him from testifying against McCray in a 2014 burglary case, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

McCray and his stepbrother, Dakarai Maxwell, were indicted last month on murder and conspiracy charges. Maxwell, who was 17 at the time of the killing, won't face the death penalty.

The step siblings were charged with burglary after Brenton's home was broken into and ransacked in 2014. Prescription drugs and jewelry were taken in the burglary, which was caught on camera.

McCray, who previously served time for armed robbery, was arrested for the burglary in 2015. Police said recorded phone conversations indicated he was anxious about returning to prison.

According to court records, McCray first enlisted his girlfriend, Teirany Shelton, to lean on Brenton's family. When that plan fell through, records state McCray ordered a hit to silence Brenton.

McCray has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering. Jury selection in the case is set for November.