2-Year-Old Boy Killed When His Stepdad Orchestrates Murder-for-Hire Plot — and Hitman Is Sentenced

An Army soldier who killed his friend’s 2-year-old stepson in a murder-for-hire plot pleaded guilty in June and will spend the rest of his life in prison, according to multiple reports.

The Leaf Chronicle reports that Zackery Alexander, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder, admitting he fatally shot 2-year-old Joseph Bankston in October 2015.

Alexander was hired by another Fort Campbell soldier, David Wi, to murder Bankston along with Wi’s estranged wife and the 1-year-old daughter the couple had together, ClarksvilleNow.com reports.

Alexander also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated assault, The Leaf Chronicle reports.

As part of his plea deal, Alexander avoided the death penalty, the outlet reports.

According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time of the pair’s arrest, Wi and the slain boy’s mom were embroiled in a custody battle.

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The Leaf Chronicle reported in 2015 that Wi had life insurance policies on his stepson, his wife and the couple’s daughter.

According to the court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Wi’s ex and her children were staying at the woman’s mother’s home when Alexander knocked on the front door, asking to borrow a set of jumper cables.

When the new boyfriend of Wi’s ex answered the door, Alexander allegedly shot him several times. Joseph was also killed in the violence.

Wi’s ex and their daughter were allegedly able to hide from Alexander and were unharmed in the shooting.

David Wi was sentenced to life plus 50 years after pleading guilty in 2017 to first-degree murder in perpetration of a crime, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, The Leaf Chronicle reports.

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