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A former reality TV star has been convicted in connection with the death of his nephew.
On Friday, a federal jury found James “Tim” Norman, 43, guilty in the March 2016 death of Andre Montgomery, 21. Norman and his nephew starred in “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” a long-running show about a family-owned collection of soul food restaurants in the St. Louis area.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Norman was responsible for arranging a murder-for-hire plot when he hired two people to kill Montgomery on March 14, 2016. They said he then tried to cash a $450,000 life insurance policy taken out on his nephew months earlier.
MEMPHIS – OCTOBER 03: Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant signage in Memphis, Tennessee on October 3, 2016. (Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angie Danis argued Norman was responsible for orchestrating the whole plan, claiming he paid $10,000 to an exotic dancer, Terica Ellis, to lure his nephew to the area he was eventually murdered. Prosecutors said Norman also paid $5,000 to Travell Anthony Hill to shoot Montgomery.
“Mr. Norman’s crimes were motivated by greed and while the evidence was voluminous and overwhelming, Mr. Norman’s plan was relatively straightforward,” U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said after Norman was found guilty. “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 told jurors that he was a “father figure” to his nephew and helped him move to St. Louis about 18 months before he was killed.
“This is my brother’s kid, so I tried my best to step in and be a father figure,” Norman testified. “I tried my best to show him right from wrong and tried to be a friend at the same time.”
FILE – A customer picks up food from Sweetie Pie’s owner Robbie Montgomery, second right, and Montgomery’s son, James "Tim" Norman, right, at the shop in St. Louis, on April 19, 2011. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)
Following the verdict, U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said her team was “very, very pleased” but did not comment further.
Defense attorney Michael Leonard said Norman being responsible for Montgomery’s murder was a “made up theory” by prosecutors and that he and Norman were “extremely surprised and disappointed in the outcome.”
He also described the testimony of Ellis and Hill, against his client as “extremely non-credible.”
PASADENA, CA – FEBRUARY 04: The cast of "Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s" attends the 47th NAACP Image Awards Non-Televised Awards Ceremony on February 4, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)
Norman faces up to life in prison and a sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 15.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.