MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Jackson, Mississippi restaurant owner allegedly conspired with an exotic dancer in Memphis in a murder-for-hire plot against his nephew, federal prosecutors in Missouri said.
James Timothy Norman, 41, was arrested Tuesday, according to WJTV, and was being held in the Madison County Detention Center. Terica Ellis was booked into the DeSoto County Jail on Monday and released to the FBI on Tuesday.
Norman is the owner of the Jackson, Mississippi location of St. Louis-based restaurant Sweetie Pie’s, and starred with his family in the TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, according to multiple media outlets.
Norman and Ellis are both charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, resulting in the death of Norman’s 18-year-old nephew, Andre Montgomery, in 2016.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Missouri said that in 2014, Norman took out a $450,000 life insurance policy on his nephew and was the sole beneficiary.
In the days leading up to Montgomery’s death, prosecutors allege Norman and Ellis communicated by cell phone several times, and cell phone records place Ellis in the area of the murder in Missouri. Afterwards, they say Ellis called Norman again and returned to Memphis.
In the days after the murder, prosecutors say Ellis deposited over $9,000 in cash into various bank accounts, while Norman contacted the life insurance company to collect on the policy.
The arrests are part of Operation LeGend, prosecutors said.
Sweetie Pie’s announced plans to open on Beale Street six years ago, then in East Memphis two years ago, but neither location ever opened.