Sweetie Pie’s murder-for-hire plot: Feds not seeking death penalty


ST. LOUIS – Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday they are not seeking the death penalty against two people accused of a conspiracy that led to the fatal shooting of Andre Montgomery Jr., the grandson of the owner of Sweetie Pie’s restaurants.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, prosecutors said they will not seek the penalty against Montgomery’s uncle, James Timothy “Tim” Norman, or his co-defendant, Terica Taneisha Ellis.

Prosecutors say the death penalty review process occurs when a federal criminal charge is punishable by death but does not reflect the prosecutor’s desire to impose it.

The review process is still pending for the fourth suspect in the murder, Travell Anthony Hill who was charged Nov. 3 with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

Federal prosecutors allege that Norman, who operated his own Sweetie Pie’s in Jackson, Mississippi, took out a $450,000 life insurance policy in 2014 on his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr., with Norman named as the sole beneficiary.

Then in March 2016, Norman contacted and communicated with Ellis, an exotic dancer living in Memphis, Tennessee, who told Norman via cellphone she would be in St. Louis.

On the day prior to Montgomery’s death, Norman flew to St. Louis from the Los Angeles area. Once in St. Louis, prosecutors say both Norman and Ellis communicated with each other via burner phones. Ellis also used the phone to learn Montgomery’s location and then called Norman and Hill.

Montgomery was shot and killed in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road just after 8 p.m. on March 14, 2016.

In late August, Norman and Ellis were arrested and charged with murder-for-hire conspiracy. That same week, Norman and Yaghnam were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

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