ST. LOUIS — After more than 17 hours of deliberating, the jury issued a verdict in the murder-for-hire trial of Tim Norman.
The "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" reality TV star was found guilty on all charges. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire resulting in death and mail fraud.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 15.
Norman and his family are known for the reality TV show "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" on the Oprah Winfrey Network, which ran for several seasons.
Back in 2020, he was accused of masterminding the death of his nephew, Andre Montgomery Jr. in 2016.
Court documents show Norman took out a life insurance policy on Montgomery for $450,000 in 2014.
Defense attorneys for Norman said they plan to appeal the verdict. They say Norman is staying positive.
Three others have been charged and pleaded guilty for their roles.
Defense attorneys Michael Leonard and Gloria Rodriguez represent Norman and spoke shortly after the verdict.
"We’re extremely surprised and disappointed in the outcome," Leonard told reporters.
Leonard said they were surprised by the outcome because of two factors.
One is the government's star witnesses, co-defendants Terica Ellis and Travell Hill, which he believes are non-credible.
Leonard also said the second reason is Norman testifying in his own trial.
"Tim testified so extensively in this trial, which is highly unusual for defendants to do so in these cases," he said.
He also said the case was greatly impacted by two of their witnesses, who used their Fifth Amendment rights.
This did not allow them to share key information.
"Those two witnesses would’ve been a giant impact on this case," he said.
As for Norman, Leonard said his client is hopeful.
"Despite the verdict, he has a lot of optimism that we’re going to overcome this and ultimately prevail," he said.
Rodriguez also told 5 On Your Side, "His attitude is he’s an innocent man and he’s going to keep fighting and we are going to there right with him. You better believe we are going to keep fighting."
Shortly after, prosecutors spoke to reporters saying Norman's crimes were motivated by greed.
"Within days of his nephew's murder, Mr. Norman started the process of getting the insurance company to pay the claim," U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said.
Norman's family didn't talk on camera, but you could hear some family members crying in court and outside of the courtroom.
Montgomery's mother and family were screaming and yelling with excitement outside of the federal courthouse.
Each one had shirts with Montgomery's face on it. It was the very same picture used as evidence in the case.
"This is justice," his older sister said. "I’m glad they put that monster behind bars for life. He ruined multiple lives, not just ours, but multiple lives. My mother got some peace. We knew it was him, we knew it. We got justice. I don’t care how much money a person got, you can’t underestimate them."
Norman has not been sentenced. Sentencing is set for Dec. 15.
It was a week-long trial with a murder case involving multiple parties and unexpected twists.
One day before the case was given to the jury, the most surprising witness took the stand: Tim Norman.
Norman cried while testifying and denied any involvement with the murder of his nephew.
He talked about how he was a mentor to many children, including his nephew and took Montgomery under his wing.
However, prosecutors questioned him, catching Norman in a few lies, tracked down flight and phone records, and spoke to other parties who plead guilty in this case.
"He is the architect of this plan, causing, encouraging and aiding this scheme," Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwendolyn Caroll told the jury.
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