James “Tim” Norman, a former St. Louis reality TV star, was sentenced to two life terms on Thursday for arranging a conspiracy to kill his nephew that included false life insurance policies, cash reimbursements, and years of coverups.
On Thursday morning, U.S. District Judge John A. Ross sentenced Norman to life in prison on two murder-for-hire counts, calling the evidence at trial “overwhelming” proof that Norman masterminded the March 2014 St. Louis death of his 21-year-old nephew Andre Montgomery.
“It was a cold-blooded, incredibly premeditated, planned execution of your nephew,” Ross said before sentencing.
Norman was found guilty by a jury in a September trial that drew worldwide notice. Both Norman and his nephew appeared in “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” a long-running OWN reality show about the famed soul-food restaurant started in the St. Louis region by Robbie Montgomery — Norman’s mother and Andre’s grandmother.
Some members of Montgomery’s family, including his mother, Michell Griggs, requested that Norman be sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.
“His greed has hurt so many people,” Griggs said. “Not just my family.”
At the trial, witnesses said that Norman paid $5,000 to his nephew’s shooter, Travell Anthony Hill, and $10,000 to an exotic dancer, Terica Ellis, to lure Montgomery to his death in north St. Louis.
Prosecutors provided evidence that Norman then sought to pay out up to $450,000 from a bogus life insurance policy he had taken out on Montgomery while telling Ellis to remain silent.
Norman did not speak in court on Thursday, although he maintained his innocence in a recent social media post. During sentencing, his counsel filed multiple letters from relatives and friends pleading for compassion on his behalf, including one from Norman’s mother, Robbie Montgomery, creator of the Sweetie Pie’s eateries.
“I am writing to you to ask for mercy for my son. As a mother, I am devastated that my son has been accused and convicted of the crimes,” Robbie Montgomery wrote the judge.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings