Prosecutor Calls St. Louis Reality TV Star an ‘Executioner’ in Closing Argument

The jury is deliberating now

Booking photo for James Timothy Norman
James Timothy Norman took the stand in his conspiracy murder trial.

This morning, on the seventh and likely final day of the conspiracy-to-commit-murder trial of former reality TV star Tim Norman, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angie Danis called the death of Norman’s nephew Andre Montgomery Jr. an “execution.” She called Norman the “executioner,” his alleged plot to kill the young man a “hunt.”

Tim Norman is accused of hiring people to kill his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr. Montgomery was shot and killed outside a home recording studio in 2016. Both Montgomery and Norman previously appeared on the reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pie's.

In her closing argument, Danis recounted the bountiful evidence and testimony bolstering the prosecution’s theory of the case: texts from Norman to Terica Ellis, the woman who worked as a stripper and allegedly lured Andre to his death; calls to Travell Hill, the man who has confessed to shooting and killing Montgomery; texts with Waiel “Wally” Yaghnam, the insurance agent who encouraged Norman to impersonate Montgomery in an interview with an insurance company so that a life insurance policy could be taken out on the 21-year-old with Norman as the beneficiary.

“This plan doesn’t exist but for Tim Norman’s greed,” Danis said.

With Yaghnam, Ellis and Hill all having testified to all or most of their roles in the alleged conspiracy, the real burden fell to Norman’s defense attorney Michael Leonard.

Leonard used his last time addressing the jury to sow seeds of doubt regarding the state’s case and paint Norman as a magnanimous man whose character is incompatible with orchestrating a murder to enrich himself.

“Would you make the most important decision in your life in part based on a stripper…who looked you in the face and said she lied to you?” Leonard asked.

Leonard claimed both Ellis and Hill only testified to get years shaved off their sentences.

Leonard further called into question Ellis’ credibility, saying that the government had the power to prevent her from seeing her child.

As for Hill, Leonard said, he was “using drugs all day long” on the day he shot Montgomery. He asked the jury to recall when Hill said, “I don’t remember no girl.” The “girl” in this case being Ellis.

Leonard also cited text messages Montgomery sent to Norman saying that he appreciates what his uncle has done for him, as well as texts from Norman to an acquaintance in which Norman seems to express a desire to mentor his nephew.

For years, according to Leonard, Norman paid his nephew’s rent and tuition and gave him access to high-end cars.

“Was it all a ruse?” Leonard asked the jury. “You don’t believe that. It’s absolute nonsense.”

In her brief rebuttal to Leonard’s remarks, Danis said that during Norman’s four hour testimony yesterday “he spun tales, but that doesn’t create reasonable doubt.”

She called Norman’s wealth an “illusion,” pointing out that American Express had won a $215,000 judgement against him.

She said that similar to how the reality TV show Norman appeared on, Welcome to Sweetie Pie's, presented a distorted version of reality, so, too, had Norman who treated the jury as his audience when the took the stand.

Danis finished: "The defendant's narrative that he spun on the show and that he tired to spin for you is over."

With that, the jury filed out of the courtroom to deliberate their verdict, which could come as soon as this afternoon.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the U.S. Attorney who presented closing arguments in this case. We regret the error.

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Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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