Reality TV star found guilty of killing nephew

On Friday, a federal jury found the former Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s star from St. Louis guilty of orchestrating the shooting of her nephew.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the jury deliberated for about 5 hours over three days before reaching a verdict in the murder-for-hire case against James “Tim” Norman. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Norman and his nephew Andre Montgomery both starred in the long-running OWN reality show about the popular soul food business founded in the St. Louis area by Robbie Montgomery—Norman’s mother and Andre’s grandmother.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, but Norman could be sentenced to life in prison. The verdict is set for December 15th.

Federal prosecutors said Norman, 43, hired two people to kill Montgomery, 21, on March 14, 2016, and then attempted to cash out a $450,000 life insurance policy issued to his nephew several months earlier.

Defense attorney Michael Leonard said after the verdict that he and Norman were “extremely surprised and disappointed with the outcome” of the case. He said that they planned to appeal and that Norman remained optimistic that he would eventually win.

Leonard said that the testimony during the trial of the two accomplices was “grossly implausible”. And he said that Norman gave a good testimony during the trial, noting that he was not cross-examined.

U.S. Attorney Sailer Fleming said she was “very, very pleased” with the verdict, but her office would not make any further statements until the verdict.

During the closing debate, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angie Denis stated that Norman was the architect of the plan to assassinate Montgomery.

“This plan only exists because of the greed of Tim Norman,” Denis said.

Leonard argued in his closing argument that the murder plot presented by prosecutors was a “made-up theory”.

Prosecutors said Norman paid $10,000 to exotic dancer Terika Ellis to lure his nephew to the scene where he was shot and paid $5,000 to Travelle Anthony Hill to shoot Montgomery.

Ellis and Hill testified for the prosecution in the case. They both pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.

Testifying during his trial, Norman said he helped his nephew move to St. Louis about 18 months before he was killed and supported him financially because he was trying to babysit Montgomery. He said he aspired to be a “father” to his brother’s son.

Former Sweetie Pie employees and other witnesses testified that Norman and his nephew had a close relationship.

Danis said that all the testimony of the accomplices of the scheme was backed up in court by texts, call recordings and location data.

She said that Norman created “an image of a mentor and a father to all these people, but that’s fiction.”

Leonard said during his closing speech that Ellis testified to get a shorter sentence and said that Hill admitted that he was a heavy drug addict and that he was “addicted to drugs that day”.

On Tuesday, Norman revealed that he took out his nephew’s life insurance policy to give longtime family restaurant customer Wayel Rebhi Yaghnam some business.

In July, Yaghnam pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for hire and wire fraud.

Montgomery left St. Louis after at least $220,000 in cash, jewelry, and other items were stolen from Robbie Montgomery’s home in June 2015.

Norman told jurors that he and his mother hired a private detective to find his nephew and confront him about the robbery, but he had no intention of harming him.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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