Sweetie Pie’s owner, co-conspirator face new charges in murder-for-hire case

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A federal grand jury indicted James Timothy Norman, 41, of Jackson, Mississippi, and Terica Ellis, 36, of Memphis, Tennessee, for conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire resulting in death. 

The grand jury also charged Norman and Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam, 42, of St. Louis, Missouri, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.  

Federal complaints and arrests warrants were previously issued for Norman and Ellis, who were both arrested earlier this week. 

According to the indictment and other court documents, Norman conspired with Terica Ellis and others to use a facility of interstate commerce such as a cellular telephone, to commit a murder-for-hire in exchange for money.

Investigators said in 2014, Norman obtained a $450,000 life insurance policy on his 20-year-old nephew, Andre Montgomery, on which Norman was the sole beneficiary. 

In the days leading up to Montgomery’s murder, Ellis, an exotic dancer residing in Memphis, Tennessee, communicated with Montgomery and informed him that she was planning to be in St. Louis. 

On March 13, 2016, the day before Montgomery’s murder, Norman flew to St. Louis, Missouri from his home in Los Angeles, California. On March 14, 2016, investigators said Ellis and Norman communicated using temporary phones activated that day. Ellis also used the temporary phone to communicate with Montgomery and learn his physical location for the purpose of luring Montgomery outside. 

Immediately after learning Montgomery’s location, investigators said Ellis placed a call to Norman. On March 14, 2016, Montgomery was killed by gunfire at 3964 Natural Bridge Avenue in the City of St. Louis. Prosecutors said Ellis’ phone location information places her in the vicinity of the murder at time of the homicide. 

After Montgomery’s murder, Ellis placed a call to Norman, and then began travelling to Memphis, Tennessee. In the days after the murder, prosecutors said Ellis deposited over $9,000 in cash into various bank accounts. 

On March 18, 2016, Norman contacted the life insurance company in an attempt to collect on the life insurance policy he had obtained on his nephew.

If convicted of the conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire or murder-for-hire, resulting in death, the penalty is life imprisonment or death and a fine of $250,000; and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  In determining the actual sentence, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

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