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A fourth suspect has been arrested in connection with the 2016 murder of a man whose grandmother’s St. Louis restaurant served as the backdrop for the reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”
Federal prosecutors announced the indictment Thursday of Travell Anthony Hill, 29, who has been accused of playing a role in the murder-for-hire plot that killed 20-year-old Andre Montgomery in 2016.
Montgomery’s uncle, James Timothy “Tim” Norman—who also appeared on the OWN reality show—has already been charged in connection with the death, along with Memphis-based exotic dancer Terica Ellis and Waiel Rebbi Yaghnam.
According to federal prosecutors, Norman, Ellis and Hill are all facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire resulting in Montgomery’s death.
Norman is also facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud alongside Yaghnam, who faces his additional charges of five counts of aggravated identity theft.
Federal prosecutors say all four were part of a murder-for-hire plot that led to Montgomery’s March 16, 2016 death.
Two years before Montgomery was killed, Norman had obtained a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew, which listed Norman as the sole beneficiary, authorities said. He was able to obtain the policy with help from Yaghnam, who served as an insurance agent, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Prosecutors said just days before the fatal shooting, Ellis, an exotic dancer living in Memphis, and Norman had both come to the St. Louis area and purchased temporary cell phones which they used to communicate with one another.
Ellis is accused of also using the phone to talk with Montgomery to learn his location “for the purpose of luring” him outside where he was shot and killed. Cell phone data placed her near the scene of the crime and showed that she had also been in contact with both Norman and Hill shortly before the murder, according to an affidavit in the case obtained by Oxygen.com.
Montgomery had texted Ellis his location at 7:07 p.m. Authorities said she immediately made calls to both Norman and Hill before calling Montgomery one final time just minutes before his death.
“Witnesses at the scene of the homicide indicated that Montgomery went outside to meet someone after receiving a telephone call, and was shot and killed shortly thereafter,” the affidavit said.
Montgomery was killed at 8:02 p.m. Just one minute later, authorities said Ellis tried to call Norman on his newly purchased cell phone and then “immediately began driving back to her home in Memphis, Tennessee,” according to the affidavit.
Authorities have released few details about Hill’s alleged role in the crime, other than to say he received a cash payment of $5,000 from Norman the same day of the murder. He also “engaged in a recorded phone conversation with an individual in jail and discussed Montgomery’s murder and his payment,” prosecutors said in the news release.
The call allegedly occurred between Hill and his brother Tony Whitfield, who laughed about the murder and told Hill “I heard motherf---er finally got him,” according to the affidavit.
On March 18, 2016, just two days after Montgomery was killed, prosecutors said Norman contacted the life insurance company to try to collect on the policy he had obtained on his nephew. He would contact the company five more times in the following months as he tried to collect on the policy, according to the affidavit.
Montgomery was the grandson of Robbie Montgomery, who owned the restaurant featured on the reality television show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.” Norman is her son.
Andre Montgomery’s father—Norman’s brother—died in Los Angeles in 1994, according to Norman’s superseding indictment in the case obtained by Oxygen.com.
The show aired on the OWN network for five seasons starting in 2011 and included both Robbie Montgomery’s son and grandson.
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