ST. LOUIS – A man accused of plotting to have his nephew murdered for an insurance payout has until Tuesday morning to decide if he wants to testify on his own behalf.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said James Timothy “Tim” Norman, a co-owner of Sweetie Pie’s soul food restaurants in the St. Louis area, arranged the 2016 murder of his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr., for $450,000 in insurance benefits, of which Norman was the sole beneficiary.

Testimony in the trial should wrap on Tuesday, as the defense has one announced witness scheduled. Norman may still opt to take the stand by then. If he does not, the defense will likely rest its case and closing statements will occur.

On Monday, Norman’s attorney, Michael Leonard, made several failed attempts to have the case thrown out. U.S. District Court Judge John Ross also denied Leonard’s motion to compel testimony from a convicted co-conspirator in the plot.

Norman is the son of Robbie Montgomery, who founded Sweetie Pie’s in 1996. The restaurant and Montgomery family were the subjects of a reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network called, “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

Andre Montgomery Jr. was shot and killed in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road on the evening of March 14, 2016. He was 21. Norman was one of four co-conspirators indicted in the conspiracy.

Travell Hill, the trigger man, was indicted in November 2020 on one count of murder-for-hire and one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. He pleaded guilty in June 2022. He’ll be sentenced on Sept. 20.

Terica Ellis, who worked as an exotic dancer in Memphis, Tennessee, was accused of setting Andre up and tipping off Norman and others about Andre’s location before the murder. Ellis pleaded guilty in July 2022 to one count of murder-for-hire conspiracy. She’ll be sentenced on Oct. 26.

Waiel Yaghnam, Norman’s insurance agent, was indicted in August 2020 on one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. He pleaded guilty in July 2022. He’ll be sentenced on Oct. 26.

Prosecutors allege Norman conspired with Yaghnam to get the life insurance policy on Montgomery. That policy contained a $200,000 base with a $200,000 accidental death rider that would pay out if Montgomery died of anything besides natural causes, and a $50,000 10-year term rider that would pay out if Montgomery died within a decade of the policy being approved.



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