A JURY convicted former reality TV star James Timothy Norman in a murder-for-hire scheme.
Norman starred in the reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, which aired in 2011.
Who is James Timothy Norman?
James Timothy Norman starred in Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, a reality TV show that ran for nine seasons before it was canceled in 2018.
However, in 2016 Robbie sued her son, claiming trademark infringement after he opened three restaurants using the same name in the St. Louis area and California.
The original Sweetie Pie’s, owned by Robbie, was opened in 1996 and she trademarked the name in 2012 after the reality show aired.
Norman responded to the lawsuit at the time, telling The St. Louis American: “It’s complicated, to say the least, as we have joint interest in various facets of the Sweetie Pie’s brand.
“I have to stay true to our brand and our business and I truly hope this disagreement can be settled between my mother and me.”
“I have always, and will always, want what is best for my mother, our family, and our people,” Norman continued. “This is the risk of doing business with loved ones, and I am hopeful for swift resolution.”
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed Norman’s nephew, Andre Montgomery, was found dead in a home near Fairfield Park on March 14, 2016.
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Montgomery had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police were initially baffled by the scene and asked anyone with knowledge to come forth.
In August 2020, Norman was charged with the murder of his nephew.
Why was Tim Norman charged with Andre’s murder?
Norman was charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, resulting in death on August 11, 2020, and he was arrested one week later in Jackson, Mississippi.
Investigators found that Norman had taken out a $450k life insurance policy on his nephew in 2014, making himself the sole beneficiary.
Investigators found that only one week after Montgomery had been killed, Norman contacted the insurance company to claim the life insurance.
During the trial, prosecutors said that Montgomery had paid Ellis $10k to lure Montgomery to the St. Louis home on March 14.
They had used burner phones to stay in touch and enable Ellis to track Norman’s whereabouts.
The prosecution said Norman had then paid $5k to Travell Anthony Hill to shoot Montgomery.
Both Ellis and Hill pleaded guilty to their roles in the shooting in July 2022.
Norman has continued to plead not guilty to the charges and denied paying Hill, claiming he didn’t know Hill was the shooter until he pleaded guilty.
Police questioned Norman’s friend, Derryl Howard, who had gone into a cooperation agreement with the government in 2020.
Howard told the jury that at approximately 8pm, Norman called him and asked him to retrieve $5k from his room at the Chase Park Plaza.
He said he was instructed to give the money to Hill, and authorities indicated the request was made after Montgomery was shot.
At 8.03pm, records showed that Ellis called Norman, and she recalled to the jury that she told Norman: “What the f*** happened? I heard gunshots.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, get on the highway and go home, don’t tell nobody.'”
Norman denied having said that and claimed he didn’t know Montgomery had been killed at that time.
Prosecutors then asked him if he didn’t know when his nephew was killed, then why did he call Howard at 8.06pm, only three minutes after Montgomery was shot.
Norman continued to deny his involvement, saying he aimed to be a “father figure” to Montgomery and had assisted him financially.
During closing arguments, Assistant US Attorney Angie Danis told the jury that texts, call records, and location data backed up Ellis’ and Hill’s testimony.
She added that Norm presented “an image of being a mentor and a father figure to all these people, but it’s fiction.”
Was Tim Norman found guilty?
A federal jury convicted Norman on September 16, 2022, in the murder-for-hire scheme of his nephew, Andre Montgomery.
The jury deliberated for 17 hours over the course of three days and found Norman guilty of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
After the verdict, Norman’s attorney, Michael Leonard said they were “extremely surprised and disappointed by the outcome.”
Fleming said that while he and Norman “understand the work of the jury,” they will appeal their decision.
He added: “Tim 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 a very strong person.
“And so I think he’s still despite the verdict has a lot of optimism that we’re going to overcome this and ultimately prevail.”
US Attorney Sayler Fleming commented on the verdict, telling CNN: “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 $450k 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 is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15, 2022, and Fleming said: “At that time, he is looking at a statutory penalty range of up to life imprisonment.”