Reality star James Norman, 43, has been convicted of masterminding the 2016 execution of his nephew 21-year-old Andrew Montgomery, in St Louis, MO
Norman, star of Oprah network reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s had his nephew killed, then tried to collect a $450,000 life insurance policy he took out on the victim, without his knowledge, months earlier
The triggerman Travell Hill, 30, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and another count of murder-for-hire in the killing of Andre Montgomery Jr.
Montgomery, 21, was lured to his death by an exotic dancer that Norman paid, before being shot by another accomplice
Norman paid exotic dancer Terica Ellis $10,000 to lure his nephew to the place where he was shot, while Travell Hill received $5,000 for the hit
Both pled guilty to their participation in the murder plot and testified against Norman
Andre Montgomery Jr. is the grandson of Robbie Montgomery, the founder of soul food restaurant Sweetie Pie’s, Norman is Robbie’s son
Norman who is now facing life in prison after the convictions, with prosecutors not seeking the death penalty, said he will appeal the verdict
His sentencing is scheduled for December 15
A man who appeared on a food reality show screened by Oprah’s network has been convicted of taking out a hit on his nephew six years ago in a bid to claim $450,000 in life insurance pay out.
James Norman, 43, appeared on Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s next to his mother Robbie Montgomery, which was aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network [OWN], for nine seasons.
After three days of deliberation the jury on Friday, found he was the mastermind behind the murder- for-hire plot that ended in the shooting death of his 21-year-old nephew Andre Montgomery, in March 2016, after taking out a life insurance policy on the victim, months earlier.
Norman was convicted on two federal murder-for-hire counts and one charge of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
The reality star was charged with with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Norman is accused of hiring two people to assassinate Montgomery. He then tried to cash in on the life insurance policy which had been taken out months earlier.
Prosecutors say Norman paid exotic dancer Terica Ellis, 33, $10,000 to lure his nephew to where he was shot.
Triggerman Travell Hill received a fee of 5,000 to execute the hit.
with Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, Norman is now facing life in prison after the convictions.
The long-running show follows the family-owned collection of soul food restaurants in the St Louis, Missouri.
A jury in St. Louis, Missouri convicted him of arranging the shooting of his nephew Andre Montgomery, 21, after spending three days deliberating.
Andre Montgomery, prosecution said was lured to his death by Terica Ellis, an exotic dancer that Norman paid $10,000 dollars.
Ellis and Hill both pled guilty to their participation in the murder plot and testified against Norman.
The court heard that Ellis made several cash deposits into a number of different bank accounts in Memphis between March 15 and 17, totaling over $9,000, but prior to the killing she had a negative balance.
Denying the charges Norman claimed that he took out the life insurance policy on his nephew to give a family friend, Waiel Yaghnam, business. He pled not guilty to all of the charges against him, and said that he will appeal his conviction for murder.
The fourth leg of the conspiracy, Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam, 44, from St. Louis, Missouri, had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Yaghnam is a music producer who worked on several tracks for Nelly’s 2002 album ‘Nellyville’ as well as being an insurance agent.
He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and wire fraud back in July.
A month earlier, in June, the shooter 30-year-old Travell Hill, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and another count of murder-for-hire in the March 2016 killing of Andre Montgomery Jr.
In the plea agreement, Hill admitted he shot and killed Montgomery on March 14, 2016, outside a home on the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Ave., St. louis, in exchange for five thousand dollars.
Andre Montgomery left the area in 2015, after $220,000 in cash, jewelry and other items were stolen from his grandmother, Robbie Montgomery’s home.
Norman admitted that he and his mother hired a private investigator to find and confront his nephew about the incident, but that he had no intention of hurting him.
He told jurors that he was a ‘father figure’ to his nephew and helped him move to the area 18 months before he was killed.
He told the court: ‘This is my brother’s kid, so I tried my best to step in and be a father figure. I tried my best to show him right from wrong and tried to be a friend at the same time’
The police documents stated that officers initially investigated Andre Montgomery in the burglary, but after more than nine months out of town, he met with officers and took a polygraph test in March 2016. At that time, he denied being involved in the theft and told police he thought his uncle, Norman, was behind it.
Andre Montgomery explained that he left town to be with a girl and told officers his grandmother was trying to remove Norman from some Sweetie Pie’s business ventures, according to police accounts. The St. louis Post reports that investigators never closed the burglary case.
U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said after Norman was found guilty that she was ‘very pleased’ with the outcome of the case.
She added: ‘Mr. Norman’s crimes were motivated by greed and while the evidence was voluminous and overwhelming, Mr. Norman’s plan was relatively straightforward.
‘He fraudulently obtained life insurance in the amount of $450,000 on his nephew, Andre Montgomery, without Mr. Montgomery’s knowledge, he then used a paramour to locate Mr. Montgomery and a co-defendant to fatally shoot and kill him.
‘Within days of his nephew’s murder, Mr. Norman started the process of getting the insurance company to pay the claim.’
Norman’s defense attorney Michael Leonard argued the allegations that his client is responsible for Montgomery’s murder was a ‘made up theory’ by prosecutors.
He said that both he and Norman were ‘extremely surprised and disappointed in the outcome’ and would be appealing the conviction.
Leonard also characterized the testimony of the other parties in the plot, Ellis and Hill, against his client as ‘extremely non-credible.’
The defense attorney said: ‘Norman is an amazingly optimistic and strong guy. So he’s been in custody for quite a long time already.
‘He had to sit through the deliberations by himself, and he’s very strong person.
‘And so I think he’s still despite the verdict has a lot optimism that we’re going to overcome this and ultimately prevail.’
Norman on his website, he claims that he was arrested for armed robbery and served ten years in prison.
He also had several issued with property companies in unpaid rent, with two owners saying he owed them a total of $354,000.
His record of brushes with the law include being charged with misdemeanor assault charges in Harris County, Texas, after he allegedly punching a former employee in the face in 2018.
During a December 2016 episode of Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, Norman and his mother, Miss Robbie, are shown visiting the scene of where Montgomery was killed.
Norman told the camera on the street where Montgomery was shot: ‘We’ve lost a lot of family members here.
‘Andre, as of late. But even before Andre, my father…and it’s all on this one street. A few blocks from each other.
‘Since Andre’s passing I haven’t gone through this part of the city. Really I’ve been avoiding it.’
The victim Andre Montgomery Jr. is the grandson of Robbie Montgomery, the founder of soul food restaurant Sweetie Pie’s. For her part Robbie told TMZ in 2016 that she suspected her grandson’s murder was a set-up.
Norman will be sentenced in December 15.