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Day 5: Mistrial requested and denied in Sweetie Pie's murder-for-hire trial

Tim Norman and his family were on the reality TV show "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" on the Oprah Winfrey Network for several seasons.
Credit: Madison County Detention Center
James Timothy "Tim" Norman, 41, was charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire resulting in death

ST. LOUIS — A high-profile murder trial involving James Timothy "Tim" Norman entered its second week Monday. The trial's fifth day saw defense witnesses taking the stand.

Norman and his family were on the reality TV show "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" on the Oprah Winfrey Network for several seasons.

Norman is now accused of being the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire scheme to kill his nephew Andre Montgomery Jr. in 2016.

He is charged with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire, resulting in death. He's also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Court documents show Norman took out a life insurance policy on Montgomery for $450,000 two years before the shooting.

Three others have been charged and have pleaded guilty to their roles.

Day 5

Christopher Carroll

The prosecution rested its case on Friday and Monday morning, the defense resumed.

First to take the stand was Christopher Carroll, also known as "White Boy Chris". 

Caroll used his Fifth Amendment right for all the questions asked.

These questions were in regards to working at Sweetie Pie's and knowing any of the parties involved. 

In last week's testimony, the alleged shooter Travell Hill, who already pleaded guilty, said he got the understanding to kill Montgomery through Norman's friend "White Boy Chris".

Defense attorney Michael Leonard asked Carroll if there was an in-person meeting with Hill in regard to Montgomery.

Caroll used his Fifth Amendment right again. 

Caroll was dismissed.

That's when Leonard told the judge that back in Oct. 19, 2020, and March 11, 2021, Caroll met with investigators for an hour and waived his right to counsel. 

He said the same questions asked on Monday were already answered in detail in both of these meetings.

"In those meetings, Chris Caroll said the meeting never occurred," Leonard said.

He said Caroll told investigators he did not discuss the idea of paying any sum of money directly by Caroll or Norman and there was no discussion with Hill. 

Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam

Norman's life insurance agent Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam, who's already pleaded guilty to this case, was subpoenaed last week to take the stand.

Yaghnam's attorney said if Yaghnam would appear, he would assert his right to the Fifth Amendment.

That's when Leonard said Yaghnam also met with law enforcement.

Leonard said Yaghnam explained he did meet with Montgomery and wrote down detailed statements for the insurance applications. 

The defense said they are pushing for this because they believe there was an in-person meeting between Norman, Montgomery and Yaghnam for the insurance applications.

The judge denied several motions and Leonard had asked for a mistrial four times.

The judge denied that, as well. 

Carl Nappa 

Nappa was a professor and recording producer at the music school Extreme Institute by Nelly, which opened in 2011. 

Nappa said it was about $30,000 to go to the school for an associate's degree. 

He said Montgomery was enrolled but then stopped going to school. 

The defense said Norman paid for the school. 

In the prosecution's rebuttal, they asked Nappa if they knew if Norman paid.

"I never saw him physically do it," he said. 

They asked if they knew if financial assistance was used for Montgomery but he couldn't confirm that either.

Calvin Payne 

Payne said he worked at the Sweetie Pie's restaurant in April 2012 as a server.

Payne said he loved Andre and considered Norman as a friend and his boss. 

"His uncle was supportive and wanting Andre on the right path," he said. 

What's next

By the time lunch rolled around, the jury was dismissed and the defense had gone through all of its witnesses for the day because of some complications the defense faced.

The defense said it has one last witness coming Monday night and will testify Tuesday morning.

It is a producer of the show "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's".

It’s unknown if Norman will testify, and that decision will have to be made overnight.

The trial ended for the day and will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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