A star of Oprah’s reality tv network show has been convicted of murdering his nephew in an organised execution to cash in on his $450,000 life insurance policy.
James Norman, 43, appeared on Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s next to his mother Robbie Montgomery, which was aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network for nine seasons.
The long-running show follows the family-owned collection of soul food restaurants in the St Louis, Missouri.
After deliberating for three days, a jury convicted him of arranging the shooting of his nephew Andre Montgomery in March 2016.
The reality star was charged with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Norman hired two people to kill Montgomery, 21, and then tried to cash in on the life insurance policy which had been taken out months earlier.
Prosecutors say Norman paid exotic dancer Terica Ellis, 33, $10,000 to lure his nephew to where he was shot, and Travell Hill $5,000 to carry out the murder.
Norman is now facing life in prison after the convictions, with prosecutors not seeking the death penalty, and will be sentenced on December 15.
James Norman, 43, has been convicted of organising the execution of his nephew in 2016 sohe could cash in a six figure life insurancy policy
A jury convicted him of arranging the shooting of his nephew Andre Montgomery, 21, after spending three days deliberating
Andre Montgomery, pictured, was lured to his death by an exotic dancer that Norman paid $10,000 dollars
Both Ellis and Hill pleaded guilty to their participation in the murder plot and testified against Norman.
The court heard that Ellis made several cash deposits into a number of different bank accounts in Memphis between March 15 and 17, totalling over $9,000, but prior to the killing she had a negative balance.
Norman, pictured smiling in a mugshot, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him, and said that he will appeal the conviction for murder
Norman claimed that he took out the life insurance policy on his nephew to give a family friend, Waiel Yaghnam, business.
Yaghnam pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and wire fraud in July.
Montgomery left the area in 2015, after $220,000 in cash, jewelery and other items were stolen from Robbie’s home.
Norman admitted that he and his mother hired a private investigator to find and confront his nephew about the incident, but that he had no intention of hurting him.
He told jurors that he was a ‘father figure’ to his nephew and helped him move to the area 18 months before he was killed.
He told the court: ‘This is my brother’s kid, so I tried my best to step in and be a father figure. I tried my best to show him right from wrong and tried to be a friend at the same time’
Norman admitted that he and his mother hired a private investigator to find and confront his nephew about the incident, but that he had no intention of hurting him
Prosecutors say Norman paid exotic dancer Terica Ellis, pictured, $10,000 to lure his nephew to where he was shot, and Travell Hill $5,000 to carry out the murder
While appearing on the show Norman and his mother spoke about the murder of Montgomery and how it affected them. Robbie said that she always thought that her grandsons death was a ‘set up’
U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said after Norman was found guilty that she was ‘very pleased’ with the outcome of the case.
She added: ‘Mr. Norman’s crimes were motivated by greed and while the evidence was voluminous and overwhelming, Mr. Norman’s plan was relatively straightforward.
‘He fraudulently obtained life insurance in the amount of $450,000 on his nephew, Andre Montgomery, without Mr. Montgomery’s knowledge, he then used a paramour to locate Mr. Montgomery and a co-defendant to fatally shoot and kill him.
‘Within days of his nephew’s murder, Mr. Norman started the process of getting the insurance company to pay the claim.’
Defense attorney Michael Leonard said Norman being responsible for Montgomery’s murder was a ‘made up theory’ by prosecutors.
He said that both he and Norman were ‘extremely surprised and disappointed in the outcome’ and would be appealing the conviction.
Leonard also described the testimony of Ellis and Hill, against his client as ‘extremely non-credible.’
He appeared on Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s next to his mother Robbie Montgomery, which was aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network for nine seasons
He added: ‘Norman is an amazingly optimistic and strong guy. So he’s been in custody for quite a long time already.
‘He had to sit through the deliberations by himself, and he’s very strong person.
‘And so I think he’s still despite the verdict has a lot optimism that we’re going to overcome this and ultimately prevail.’
Norman was charged with misdemeanor assault charges in Harris County, Texas, after allegedly punching a former employee in the face in 2018.
On his website, he claims that he was arrested for armed robbery and served ten years in prison.
He also had several issued with property companies in unpaid rent, with two owners saying he owed them a total of $354,000.
During a December 2016 episode of Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, Norman and his mother, Miss Robbie, are shown visiting the scene of where Montgomery was killed.
Norman told the camera on the street where Montgomery was shot: ‘We’ve lost a lot of family members here.
‘Andre, as of late. But even before Andre, my father…and it’s all on this one street. A few blocks from each other.
‘Since Andre’s passing I haven’t gone through this part of the city. Really I’ve been avoiding it.’
Robbie told TMZ in 2016 that she suspected her grandson’s murder was a set-up.