ST. LOUIS – Two more people pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a murder-for-hire conspiracy plot in 2016 to kill Andre Montgomery Jr., grandson of the owner of the Sweetie Pie’s restaurants.
Terica Taneisha Ellis and Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday. The pleas come less than two months after Travell Hill, another man charged in the investigation, pleaded guilty to felony charges in the death of Montgomery.
James Timothy Norman, Montgomery’s uncle who operated his own Sweetie Pie’s in Jackson, Mississippi, is also accused in the investigation.
Investigators say Montgomery was shot and killed on the evening of March 14, 2016, in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road. Two years before that, prosecutors say that Norman took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr. with Norman named as the sole beneficiary.
According to court documents, 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 and Ellis flew to St. Louis from the Los Angeles area.
According to a plea deal, Ellis had agreed to assist Norman with finding Montgomery days prior to his death. Ellis has communicated with Montgomery and informed him that she was planning to be in St. Louis. After she learned of Montgomery’s location
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 Hill and Norman. According to court documents, Hill found Montgomery’s location, walked up to him and shot him multiple times. Hill and Ellis later accepted a payment after the death of Montgomery, per court records.
Per court documents, four days after the shooting, Norman contacted the life insurance company in an attempt to collect on the life insurance policy he had obtained on his nephew. Yaghnam, his insurance agent, to fraudulently obtain a life insurance policy on Montgomery in 2014, according to his plea agreement.
In October 2014, Norman and Yaghnam submitted three separate life insurance applications. All three contained false statements regarding Montgomery’s income, net worth, medical history, employment and family background. In the life insurance policy ultimately issued, Norman obtained a $200,000 policy.
Per court documents, following the murder of Andre Montgomery, Yaghnam placed two telephone calls to one of the insurance agencies seeking to file a claim on the life insurance policy Norman owned on Montgomery. In May 2016, Norman submitted mail to an insurance agency with a written claim on his life insurance policy on Andre Montgomery.
Criminal charges issued to suspects in the case include conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Yaghnam and Ellis are expected to be sentenced on Oct. 26, 2022. Hill is expected to be sentenced in September.
In August 2020, Norman was charged with murder-for-hire conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in the case.