ST. LOUIS – Jurors could begin deliberations Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of plotting to have his nephew murdered for an insurance payout.

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.

The morning’s proceedings have been delayed, as U.S. District Court Judge John Ross issued a recess shortly after seating the jury. Michael Leonard, Norman’s attorney, is expected to present at least one more witness before wrapping his case. Norman may opt to testify on his own behalf as well.

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

Andre Montgomery Jr. was shot and killed in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road just after 8 p.m. on 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 prior to 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 fraudulently obtain 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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