A Mississippi man and onetime reality TV show star was convicted on murder-for-hire charges by federal jurors in Missouri.
James Timothy “Tim” Norman, 43, was found guilty of murder-for-hire, conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud over the March 2016 shooting death of his 21-year-old nephew Andre Montgomery Jr. in St. Louis.
During trial, prosecutors showed that Norman took out a life insurance policy to the tune of $450,000 on his nephew, then arranged “though intermediaries” for the young man’s murder in order to reap the benefits along with Montgomery’s death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said in a Friday press release.
Norman and Montgomery both appeared on the reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, a program about soul food restaurants in the St. Louis area that were founded in 1996 by Robbie Montgomery, Norman’s mother, a former soul singer. The show was produced by and aired on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network for nine seasons.
Prior to Norman’s trial, three co-defendants took plea deals.
Travell Anthony Hill, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and one count of murder-for-hire. The first co-defendant admitted that he met with a mutual acquaintance shared with Norman who told Hill that Norman wanted his nephew dead.
“On the day of Montgomery’s death, Hill and Norman met in St. Louis and Norman told Hill that a woman would be calling with Montgomery’s location,” the USAO press release explains. “After receiving a call from the woman, Terica Ellis, Hill fatally shot Montgomery with a .380-caliber handgun at 8:02 p.m. and then disposed of the gun and his phone. He was later paid $5,000.”
Hill pleaded guilty in June of this year. Ellis and a third co-conspirator took their plea deals in late July.
The press release details Ellis’ role in Montgomery’s death:
Ellis, an exotic dancer from Memphis, Tennessee, admitted finding Montgomery twice for Norman before the murder and providing Montgomery’s whereabouts first to Norman, then to Hill, using prepaid “burner” phones Ellis and Norman purchased together. Ellis admitted knowing that Norman was upset and frustrated by his inability to locate Montgomery and knowing that Norman was going to take some form of action, but she did not know Montgomery would be shot. Norman paid her $10,000 for finding his nephew and told her to dispose of her burner phone after the murder.
The final co-defendant in the case was an insurance agent who admitted to helping Norman fraudulently obtain a life insurance policy on his nephew. In sum, five separate applications were filed that misstated Montgomery’s income, net worth, medical history, employment, and family background.
After a nearly two-week-long trial and three days of jury deliberations, Norman was found guilty.
“I’d like to thank the prosecution team that worked with a tremendous amount of evidence to earn this guilty verdict, as well as the cooperation and diligence of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI,” U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said.
The defendant’s sentencing is currently slated for Dec. 15, 2022.
A copy of a superseding indictment filed in the case is below:
[image via Madison County, Mississippi Detention Center]
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