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Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s star charged in murder-for-hire plot that ended in killing of his nephew

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James ‘Tim’ Norman, 41, was arrested by FBI agents in Jackson on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-fire, resulting in death, and was booked into the Madison County Detention Center

A star of the OWN reality TV series Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s has been arrested on federal charges for his alleged involvement in a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of his 21-year-old nephew.

James ‘Tim’ Norman, 41, was arrested by FBI agents in Jackson, Mississippi, on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, resulting in death, and was booked into the Madison County Detention Center.

According to a criminal complaint, Norman allegedly conspired with exotic dancer Terica Ellis to kill his nephew, Andrew Montgomery, who was shot dead in St. Louis on March 16, 2016.

Norman visited the site of Montgomery’s murder with his mother on the show in December the same year, in which he revealed he’d been ‘avoiding’ the area.

Federal authorities claim that two years prior to the Montgomery’s death, Norman took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew, naming himself as the sole beneficiary.

Norman also allegedly attempted to take out a $250,000 policy with a different company in 2015 but the application was denied.

‘The applications of all these policies contained numerous false statements regarding Montgomery’s income, occupation, and family history,’ according to the complaint.

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According to a criminal complaint, Norman allegedly conspired with exotic dancer Terica Ellis and other associates to kill his nephew, Andrew Montgomery (left), who was shot dead in St. Louis on March 16, 2016.

Federal authorities claim that two years prior to the Montgomery’s death, Norman took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew, naming himself as the sole beneficiary

On March 10, 2016, Ellis, of Memphis, Tennessee, allegedly contacted Montgomery, informing him via email that she was ‘on her way into [St. Louis]’, communications obtained by the FBI show.

Then, on March 13, the day before Montgomery’s death, Norman also flew into St. Louis from his then-residence in Los Angeles.

Two pre-paid cellphones, which were later traced back to both Norman and Ellis, were activated on March 14, and used throughout the day for communication between the pair.

According to the affidavit, Montgomery texted Ellis the address where he was ultimately killed that evening. Ellis then called Norman after learning of Montgomery’s location.

Montgomery was killed within the following hour. He had been recording a song inside a home on Natural Bridge Avenue when he received a text to come outside at 8:02pm and was shot.

Location data from Ellis’ phone places her in the vicinity of where Montgomery was shot at the time of his death.

Ellis then allegedly contacted Norman again after Montgomery’s death, before returning back to Memphis.

Both of Ellis’ and Norman’s purported ‘burner phones’ ceased all activity on March 15, 2016.

According to the affidavit, Montgomery texted Ellis the address where he was ultimately killed that evening (above). Ellis then called Norman after learning of Montgomery’s location.

Cast of Outstanding Reality Series winner ‘Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s’ poses in the press room during the 44th NAACP Image Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on February 1, 2013

Four days after his nephew’s murder, Norman attempted to collect on Montgomery’s life insurance policy, but was subsequently denied the funds because he failed to produce several requested documents, prosecutors say.

Meanwhile, Ellis reportedly made several cash deposits into a number of different bank accounts in Memphis between March 15 and 17, totaling over $9,000. Prior to the homicide, her accounts had a negative balance, documents claim.

Less than a week later, on March 22, Ellis flew from Memphis with her mother and daughter to Los Angeles.

Cell phone data acquired by investigators shows that, on at least one occasion, she was in the same location as Norman. Ellis and her family returned to Memphis on March 28.

The affidavit also states that Norman wired Ellis a sum of $700 the following month.

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. Both talk about how emotional his death was for them.

‘We’ve lost a lot of family members here,’ Norman tells the camera of the street where Montgomery was shot. ‘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,’ he continues.

Miss Robbie told TMZ in 2016 that she suspected her grandson’s murder was a set-up. 

Montgomery featured regularly in the show, with his high school graduation broadcast in 2013. 

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. Both talk about how emotional his death was for them.

Miss Robbie (seen left with Norman) told TMZ in 2016 that she suspected her grandson’s murder was a set-up.

Norman has previously had a number of run-ins with the law. According to his biography on the OWN website, he was arrested for armed robbery charges and served 10 years in prison.

In 2018, he was charged for misdemeanor assault charges in Harris County, Texas, after allegedly punching a former employee in the face.

The following year, a Houston-based property company sued Norman for unpaid rent totaling over $254,000.

He faced similar problems in Jackson later the same year, where he owns a chain of Sweetie Pie’s. The owners of the Plaza Building, where the eatery was situated at the time, said he owned them $100,000 in rent.

Norman said he had been abstaining from paying rent because of ongoing problems with the building that hadn’t been solved. The restaurant was previously ordered by the city to close down for eight days for a series of operational violations.

The restaurant later moved to its current location on East South Street in January this year.

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