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‘Sweetie Pie’s’ alum Tim Norman gets life sentence for ‘planned execution’ of nephew

The former star of the St. Louis-based reality TV show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for arranging his cousin’s death in order to collect a life insurance policy.

James “Tim” Norman did not speak for himself at the sentencing hearing for the murder of his 21-year-old cousin, Andre Montgomery Jr. in March 2016. Both men starred in the long-running reality show OWN about the family’s soul food business in the St. Louis area.

Norman’s lawyers filed several letters from family and friends asking for leniency, including from Norman’s mother, Robbie Montgomery, founder of the Sweetie Pie’s restaurants.

“I don’t know if Tim did what he was charged with and convicted of,” wrote Robbie Montgomery, who is also the victim’s grandmother. “He’s still the baby I gave birth to, and I love him like any concerned mother loves their child.”

Prosecutors said Norman took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on Andre Montgomery Jr. and caused him to be lured to a street in St. Louis, where another man shot him.

Several of the victim’s relatives, including his mother, Michelle Griggs, asked Norman to be sentenced to life, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. U.S. District Judge John A. Ross handed him two life sentences, calling it “a cold-blooded, incredibly premeditated execution of your cousin.”

Norman was convicted in September of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire and conspiracy to commit mail and telegram fraud. Robbie Montgomery closed her Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust location shortly after Norman was convicted.

Travell Anthony Hill admitted to Andre Montgomery Jr. had shot in exchange for $5,000. Hill, 31, of St. Louis, had been convicted in October to 32 years in prison. Terica Taneisha Ellis, now 39, of Memphis, Tenn., had been convicted to three years in prison after she admitted that Norman paid her $10,000 to find Montgomery and tell Hill his location.

A fourth person, insurance agent Waiel “Wally” Rebhi Yaghnam, was sentenced to three years in prison for helping Norman fraudulently apply for several insurance policies and file a claim against Montgomery’s life insurance policy.