Verdict delivered in the Jackson ‘Murder for Hire’ trial

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JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – After closing arguments yesterday, the fates of the three men — Rodney McKee, Clifford McKee, and Cortez Butler each facing first degree murder charges in the August 2014 death of 28-year old Frances Craig — were in the hands of the jury.

Then at mid-afternoon today, the jury had a verdict.

Cortez Butler, Rodney McKee, and Clifford McKee all found guilty of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, and first degree home invasion.

The McKee’s also were found guilty of soliciting murder.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka said, “a crime that you might see in a movie. It was very clear cut that it was intentional, that it was planned, that it was premeditated. And, it was carried out very much so in a brutal fashion.”

In the words of the Prosecutors, it took a “herculean” effort from the entire county to find the defendants guilty on all counts (except for second degree murder).

“Credit to the major crimes task force for all the hard work they did in this case and that’s basically made up of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan State Police, the Jackson City Police Department, and Blackman-Leoni Public Safety,” said Jarzynka.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kati Rezmierski said she is grateful to the jury which was committed and to Frances Craig’s family and friends.

Rezmierski said that the jury put away true evil.  Her final words were “may Franny rest in peace.”

The sentencing for the McKee’s and Butler will take place on May 26. Each face up to life in prison without parole.

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