Son of Sweetie Pie’s owner, accomplice face new charges in murder-for-hire case

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ST. LOUIS – The son of Sweetie Pie’s owner is facing a new charge tied to a murder-for-hire case.

Earlier this week, 41-year-old James Norman and 36-year-old Terica Ellis were arrested for a murder-for-hire conspiracy resulting in the death of Norman’s nephew.

On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted Norman and 42-year-old Waiel Yaghnam each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Federal prosecutors allege that Norman, who operates his own Sweetie Pie’s in Jackson, Mississippi, took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr. in 2014, with Norman named as the sole beneficiary. Then in March 2016, Norman contacted and communicated with Ellis, an exotic dancer living in Memphis, Tennessee, who told Norman via a cellphone she would be in St. Louis.

On the day prior to Montgomery’s death, Norman flew to St. Louis from the Los Angeles area. Once in St. Louis, prosecutors say both Norman and Ellis communicated with each other via burner phones. Ellis also used the phone to learn Montgomery’s location and then called Norman.

Just after 8 p.m. on March 14, 2016, Montgomery was shot and killed in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road.

Information from Ellis’ burner phone placed her near the scene of Montgomery’s murder. After Montgomery was killed, Ellis called Norman and then drove back to Memphis.

In the days following Montgomery’s death, Ellis made several bank deposits totaling $9,000. Norman also attempted to collect on his nephew’s life insurance policy but was denied due to a lack of documentation.

According to this new indictment, Norman conspired with his insurance agent, Waiel Yaghnam, to fraudulently obtain the life insurance policy on Montgomery. In October 2014, the pair submitted three separate life insurance applications, each of them containing false information regarding Montgomery’s income, net worth, medical history, employment, and family background.

In the policy that was ultimately issued, Norman obtained a $200,000 policy with a $200,000 accidental death rider that would pay out if Montgomery died of anything besides natural causes, and a $50,000 10-year term rider that would pay out if Montgomery died within a decade of the policy being approved.

If convicted on the conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire or the murder-for-hire charges, Norman and Ellis could face life in prison or the death penalty.

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