Federal authorities have charged a fourth person in connection with a 2016 murder-for-hire plot to kill a St. Louis man who had appeared on an Opera Winfrey Network reality show about his grandmother’s soul-food restaurant, Sweetie Pie’s.
Travell Hill joined James Norman and Terica Ellis in being charged with planning and executing a hit on Andre Montgomery in March 2016, the Justice Department announced in a Thursday press release. Waiel Yaghnam was previously charged with insurance fraud related to the case.
Montgomery was the 20-year-old grandson of Robbie Montgomery, star of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” which ran on OWN from 2011-2018. Norman, his uncle, also frequently appeared on the show.
The younger Montgomery was fatally shot March 14, 2016, in St. Louis.
Norman had taken out $450,000 worth of life insurance on Montgomery, and was the sole beneficiary of the policies, according to the feds.
He then collaborated with Ellis, an exotic dancer from Memphis, and Hill to kill his nephew, the Justice Department said. The feds unraveled the scheme by tracking cellphone communication between the three, as well as cash deposits by Ellis and Hill.
Ellis deposited $9,000 in various bank accounts in days following the murder, the feds said. Meanwhile, Norman paid Hill $5,000 cash.
Hill’s exact role is not clear from the release. The Justice Departments said only that Ellis tipped him off to Montgomery’s location on the day of the shooting, and that Hill bragged about the plot and his payment in a recorded call to someone in jail.
Norman and Ellis were arrested in August 2020 and charged with the murder-for-hire plot. Hill was not charged until last week.
Norman and Yaghnam face additional wire and mail fraud charges because they falsified documents to take out the life insurance policies, according to the feds. Norman attempted to collect the $450,000 but the insurance company rejected his claim.