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'It's costly now': 14-year-old among five people indicted in contract killing plot

Authorities: Murder-for-hire plot accounts for one-third of city's fatal shootings
Posted at 11:11 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 15:04:48-04

CINCINNATI — Authorities believe that five people, one of them a 14-year-old boy, are responsible for nearly one-third of the deadly shootings in Cincinnati this year, all through a murder-for-hire plot.

The five were indicted Wednesday in the plot that left four dead and three others wounded in multiple shootings across the city between late January and early February.

Carl Godfrey, 21, Jason Gray, 18, Mario Gordon, 30, Connor Inabnitt, 49, and a 14-year-old identified as “M.T.” face dozens of criminal charges, including 38 counts of murder and aggravated murder.

"We have to all stand together,” said Mitchell Morris with the Cincinnati Works Phoenix program. “These kids are making some terrible mistakes out here, man. It's costly. It's costly now."

Morris, who focuses on preventing shootings through early intervention, said the fact a 14-year-old boy could have been involved in contract killings and be tried as an adult is tragic.

“It's just an illusion for the young people to think that you can do these things and not have to pay for it, the families you hurt, as well as your own family," he said.

The murder spree began on Jan. 31, police said, as Godfrey was hired to kill 19-year-old Jeremiah Campbell in North Avondale. Authorities believe he and Gray fatally shot Campbell the next day.

On Feb. 2, M.T. arranged on Facebook to meet with two people, but police said he shot them both in Westwood, killing 19-year-old Terrence North.

Westwood Shooting.png

Godfrey was hired again, and this time, police believe Inabbitt drove Gray, Gordon and M.T. to Westwood on Feb. 16. They spotted their target inside a vehicle and opened fire and struck three people, police said. While their target was not killed, his 27-year-old passenger Deontray Otis died in the shooting.

“Very concerning for anyone who lives here, I'm sure," said Cincinnati Police spokesman Lt. Stephen Saunders told WCPO at the time. "Anyone who lives in this community. Broad daylight, middle of the afternoon and you have something like this happen, it's very concerning,”

Two days later on Feb. 18, police believe Godfrey and M.T. killed 30-year-old Donnell Steele in Millvale.

Millvale Shooing.jpg
Cincinnati Police investigate a fatal shooting in the 2100 block of Millvale Court.

Police said two of the victims killed were not the intended targets.

“You can send your kids to the best of schools, and on one bad day they get hit with a stray bullet,” Morris said. “That's how much this is happening in our city. The police are out here fighting."

In a news release Wednesday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the violence “perpetrated by and on young men in our city is out of control,” and added that “the callousness and disregard for the value of these victim's lives is sad, and frankly, something that should concern all of us.”

"Doesn't matter how it goes down,” Morris said. “We have someone that's not here anymore. We have someone who's going to the penitentiary for 30 years or more."

Godfrey faces four counts of aggravated murder, seven counts of murder, 10 counts of felonious assault, one count of aggravated robbery and three counts of having weapons under disability.

Gray stands charged with three counts of aggravated murder, five counts of murder, eight counts of felonious assault, one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of having weapons under disability.

Gordon has one aggravated murder charge, two counts of murder, six counts of felonious assault and one count of weapons under disability.

Inabnitt faces one count of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and six counts of felonious assault.

M.T., the 14-year-old, faces six counts of murder, one count of aggravated murder, three counts of attempted murder and six counts of felonious assault.

If convicted, all five suspects could be sentenced to life in prison.