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Sweetie Pie's reality show star pleads not guilty to charges in murder-for-hire plot

James Timothy Norman has been accused of having his 21-year-old nephew killed to collect a life insurance policy

ST. LOUIS — The star of a reality show based on a St. Louis soul food restaurant pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to the murder-for-hire plot that left his 21-year-old nephew dead in 2016.

James Timothy Norman along with an exotic dancer and insurance agent were federally indicted in August after police and prosecutors said they conspired to have Andre Montgomery killed to collect a $450,000 life insurance policy.

Norman’s mother, Robbie “Miss Robbie” Montgomery owns Sweetie Pie’s restaurant in the Grand Center neighborhood. Her grandson was shot to death in March 2016.

The show, “Welcome to Sweetie Pie's,” aired for five seasons on the Oprah Winfrey Network starting in 2011, and the family – including Norman – reflected on how Montgomery’s murder impacted them on air.

Norman has since been charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot – which is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday no decision had been made on whether to seek the death penalty and also argued Norman should remain incarcerated without bond.

Norman’s attorney, John Rogers, argued his client would live with his mother should he be released on bond, and that he has two children who have access to St. Louis to visit him. He added that Norman has more than 20 family members who live in the St. Louis area and his contacts in Texas and Mississippi have to do with Sweetie Pies.

“He would be employed in the family business,” Rogers said. “We don’t believe he’s a flight risk.”

Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker said she would take Norman’s request to be allowed to post bond “under advisement.”

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