Deadline reports the alleged mastermind behind the 2016 murder of Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s cast member, Andre Montgomery, was found guilty Friday afternoon by a federal jury. James “Tim” Norman, the victim’s co-star and uncle, faced three counts related to the 21-year-old’s death.
According to The Associated Press, a jury found 43-year-old Norman guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud; and, two federal murder-for-hire counts. The St. Louis jury deliberated for 17 hours over three days prior to coming to the verdict. The prosecutors for the case seemed pleased with the result.
According to Deadline, prosecutors surmised that Norman allegedly paid two co-conspirators to execute the murder of Montgomery. The motive was simply described as greed given Norman had placed a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew months prior to his death. Both alleged co-conspirators testified against Norman, stating they were paid $10,000 and $5,000 for their roles in the plan. One woman, Terica Ellis, received payment to bait Norman on the evening of March 14 nearly six years ago. The alleged shooter, Travell Anthony Hill, testified he was paid to kill the victim. Both Ellis and Hill pleaded guilty.
According to The AP, Norman’s defense attorney, Michael Leonard, found both Ellis and Hill’s testimonies “extremely non-credible.” He accused Ellis of only testifying for a shorter sentence, and used Hill’s own words – that he was “hopped up on drugs that day” – to discredit the witness. Norman even took the stand to testify about his relationship with his nephew and motives for the insurance policy.
According to The AP, Norman testified he was hoping to be a father figure to his nephew who moved to St. Louis 18 months earlier. He stated he was supporting him financially and only placed the life insurance policy to assist a longtime customer with some financial issues regarded to another business. Norman’s team will seek to appeal the conviction.
Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s was a reality series that centered on restaurant owner and former singer Robbie Montgomery’s, Norman’s mother, line of family-owned soul food restaurants. The series ran for six seasons first airing in 2011. Concluding in 2018, the series chornichled the family dealing with Andre’s death.
Norman, who could face life in prison, has a sentencing hearing set on December 15.