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‘Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s’ star pleads not guilty to crime against nephew

James Timothy Norman (Image source: Madison County Detention Center)

James Timothy Norman appeared in court on Oct. 13 and pleaded not guilty to what appears to be a heinous crime. Norman is accused of killing his nephew, Andre Montgomery, over insurance money, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

During the hearing on Oct. 13, Chief Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker heard arguments but has yet to decide if Norman should remain in custody as he awaits trial.

Norman’s defense attorneys asked that Noman be released on bail so that he could live with his mother, Robbie Montgomery. 

Prosecutors asked that he remain in jail due to the nature of the crime.

Norman, 41, is accused of plotting to have his nephew, Montgomery, killed. Montgomery’s father — who was Norman’s brother and Robbie Montgomery’s oldest son — was killed in 1995 at the age of 36.

Norman and his mother helped to raise his nephew and an episode of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” centered around his graduation from high school. When Montgomery turned 18, Norman obtained a $450,000 life insurance policy on the recent high school graduate, and Norman was the sole beneficiary.

In 2016, Montgomery, then 20, was shot and killed in St. Louis.

Authorities say Norman conspired with a woman, Terica Ellis, to murder Montgomery. On the day Montgomery was killed, Ellis allegedly used a temporary cellphone to determine Montgomery’s location and then called Norman.

Ellis’ phone location was allegedly near the area where Montgomery was shot and killed. Days later, Ellis deposited $9,000 into various bank accounts, according to records obtained by federal investigators.

One week after Montgomery was killed, Norman attempted to collect on the $450,000 policy.

Following an investigation, Ellis was arrested in July 2020 for conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, resulting in death.

After touring with Tina Turner as a background singer as a young adult, Robbie Montgomery opened her first restaurant in her hometown St. Louis in 1998.

“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” premiered on Oprah’s OWN in 2011 and lasted nine seasons, ending in 2018. Although a fun, family hit show, the series ended on a sour note after Robbie Montgomery, who was the owner of the restaurant franchise, sued Norman in 2016 after he opened three Sweetie Pie’s restaurants without her permission.