‘Sweet Pie’ star denies involvement in nephew’s death

The former Sweetie Pie star from St. Louis revealed on Tuesday that he was not involved in the murder of his nephew.

James “Tim” Norman, 43, is accused of hiring two people to kill 21-year-old Andre Montgomery in March 2016 and then attempting to cash out a $450,000 life insurance policy he took out on his nephew for several months before he was killed.

Norman, 43, told jurors that he helped his nephew move to St. Louis about 18 months before he was killed and supported him financially because he tried to spy on Montgomery, The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

“This is my brother’s child, so I tried my best to step in and be a father,” Norman told jurors. “I tried my best to show him right and wrong and at the same time tried to be a friend.”

Norman and Montgomery starred in the reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” on the OWN network based on the popular soul food business founded by Norman’s mother and Montgomery’s grandmother, Robbie Montgomery.

Norman faces two federal charges of contract killing and one charge of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

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 both pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.

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 had hired a private detective to find his nephew, but he had no intention of harming him.

He said he flew to St. Louis on March 14, 2016 – the day Montgomery died – as part of a regular stopover to do work for Sweetie Pie’s.

He said he only paid Ellis $1,000 for sex and $2,000 to help her open a boutique in Memphis. He admitted that he asked Ellis to help him find Montgomery, but never paid her for it.

Norman testified that he connected Ellis and Hill to find Montgomery because he wanted to recover items stolen from Robbie Montgomery’s house. He said he never paid Hill to shoot his nephew and was unaware that he had been shooting for years after his nephew’s death.

Robbie Montgomery, the main figure in Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, was in court Monday and Tuesday during her son’s defense but declined to comment on the case. Initially, the defense intended to call her as a witness. But prosecutors successfully argued against her testimony as irrelevant.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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