ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has sentenced Travell Hill, the convicted trigger man in a murder-for-hire plot involving the nephew of a Sweetie Pie’s reality TV star in 2016.

Hill, 31, was sentenced Thursday to 32 years in federal prison for charges tied to the death of Andre Montgomery Jr. He pleaded guilty to one count of murder-for-hire and one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire in June 2022.

In court Thursday, Hill admitted to meeting with Montgomery’s uncle, James Timothy Norman, on the day of the murder. He admitted to understanding that Norman wanted Montgomery killed.

Hill, who claims he supported himself through drug deals, says he met with Norman and another acquaintance before the night of the deadly shooting. After meeting with both, Hill says he went to purchase a gun and had been in contact with a woman, Terica Ellis, about her plans to meet Montgomery. 

Based on his testimony, Hill says he learned of Montgomery’s location through Ellis and parked at a house nearby where she was parked. Montgomery entered Ellis’ car outside of the given address to briefly meet her. When Montgomery got out of the car, Hill says he shot him, left the scene and threw out the cell phone he just used. Hill claims he made the decision to shoot Montgomery alone and was not pressured by anyone else, including Norman. 

Based on testimony and evidence in court, the prosecution proved Norman met with Hill weeks before the murder and agreed to pay him $5,000.

In court Thursday, Montgomery’s brother, Darren Griggs spoke of the effect of the murder on his family, saying, “We’re not whole and we never will be again.” A federal judge called Hill’s ambush of Montgomery “incredibly cold and callous” before stating Hill’s sentence.

A federal jury, meanwhile, convicted Norman last month of two counts of federal murder-for-hire and one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in the investigation. Prosecutors say, before Montgomery’s death, took out a $450,000 life insurance policy in 2015 on his nephew with Norman named as the sole beneficiary. He is expected to be sentenced next year.

The ownership group for Sweetie Pie’s, a longtime St. Louis restaurant tied to the TV show, is now liquidating many of its assets in an online auction after closing doors last month.