‘Murder for Hire’ trial begins this week

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JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – In what is shaping up to be a complex trial, three men charged in a ‘murder for hire’ scheme is underway in Jackson County.  Prosecutors says the 2014 case centers around the arson and the death of a woman who was not the intended victim.

In March 2014, a Jackson Apartment caught fire at 705 Steward Ave.  Afterwards, police arrested and charged Rodney McKee with Arson and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.  Before his Arson trial, investigators believe McKee contacted his uncle Clifford McKee to figure out a way to kill a witness to the fire.

That’s where the third person in this ‘Murder for Hire’ trio comes into the picture.  Clifford McKee allegedly contacted Cortez Butler to kill the witness in the pending Rodney McKee Arson trial.  The two knew each other from serving time together at the Wayne County Jail.

The prosecutor says Rodney and Clifford McKee planned to pay Butler $10,000 to murder the witness.

In August of 2014, according to police, Butler entered the home of 28-year-old Francis Craig in Summit Township through an unlocked garage door.  Butler found Craig in an upstairs bedroom, tied her up, and proceeded to stab her multiple times.

However, Craig was not the witness in the Arson trial.

The McKee’s and Butler face up to life in prison if convicted.

According to Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka, the case is expected to last 1 to 2 weeks.

Stay with 6 News as we’ll have continuing coverage on this case

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