Arrest made, murder for hire plot that killed former Lubbock Estacado student

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Andre Montgomery Remembered_40093625-159532

LUBBOCK, Texas — The FBI, Department of Justice, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department announced the arrest of James Timothy Norman, 41, of St. Louis in a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death Andre Montgomery, a previous student of Estacado High School in Lubbock.

Officials said Montgomery was age 21 when he was shot and killed in St. Louis in March 2016. Montgomery was listed as a resident of Florissant, which is a suburb of St. Louis.

Montgomery was the grandson of Robbie Montgomery, a singer, reality TV star and owner of “Sweetie Pie’s” restaurant in St. Louis.

Andre Montgomery’s family in Lubbock, including his mother and his brother Darren Griggs spoke with us in 2016.

“Hopefully one day we’ll have our closure, and to answer the biggest question which is ‘why?’ Why’d this happen to him?” said Griggs.

The announcement of an arrest on Tuesday provided some of those answers.

The U.S. Department of Justice accused Norman of taking out a $450,000 life insurance policy in 2014 on Montgomery, who was his nephew. The DOJ said Norman was the sole beneficiary.

Image of Timothy James Norman from fox2now.com (KTVI)

Then in March 2016, Norman contacted an exotic dancer by the name of Terica Ellies of Memphis, Tennessee. She too was taken into federal custody.

The USDOJ said in part:

“Ellis’s phone location information places her in the vicinity of the murder at time of the homicide. Immediately following Montgomery’s murder, Ellis placed a call to Norman, and then began travelling to Memphis, Tennessee. In the days after the murder, Ellis deposited over $9,000 in cash into various bank accounts. On March 21, 2016, Norman contacted the life insurance company in an attempt to collect on the life insurance policy he had obtained on his nephew.”

The criminal complaint against Norman remained unavailable on Wednesday. The press release from the USDOJ was not clear if Ellis or Norman pulled the trigger – only that they participated in a murder for hire plot.

Both remained in custody on federal charges as of Thursday, more specifically, conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder-for-hire, resulting in death.

Prosecutors are asking a judge for permission to keep Norman detained while the case remains pending.

“This is an offense for which the statutorily mandated punishment is either life imprisonment or the death penalty,” prosecutors wrote.

CORRECTION: Montgomery attended Estacado but graduated from a high school in Missouri.

The following is a statement released by federal prosecutors on Tuesday:

Man Charged With Conspiracy to Use Interstate Commerce Facilities in the Commission of Murder-for-Hire, Resulting in Death

St. Louis – James Timothy Norman, 41, of Jackson, Mississippi, was charged by a federal complaint on August 11, 2020. He was arrested this morning in Jackson, Mississippi. Norman was charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire, resulting in death.

According to the complaint, Norman conspired with Terica Ellis and others to use a facility of interstate commerce, namely, a cellular telephone, to commit a murder-for-hire in exchange for United States currency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1958. In 2014, Norman obtained a $450,000 life insurance policy on his 18-year-old nephew, Andre Montgomery, on which Norman was the sole beneficiary. In the days leading up to Montgomery’s murder, Ellis, an exotic dancer residing in Memphis, Tennessee, communicated with Montgomery and informed him that she was planning to be in St. Louis. On March 13, 2016, the day before Montgomery’s murder, Norman flew to St. Louis, Missouri from his home in Los Angeles, California. On March 14, 2016, Ellis and Norman communicated using temporary phones activated that day. Ellis also used the temporary phone to communicate with Montgomery and learn his physical location. Immediately after learning Montgomery’s location, Ellis placed a call to Norman. On March 14, 2016, at approximately 8:02 p.m., Montgomery was killed by gunfire at 3964 Natural Bridge Avenue in the City of St. Louis. Ellis’s phone location information places her in the vicinity of the murder at time of the homicide. Immediately following Montgomery’s murder, Ellis placed a call to Norman, and then began travelling to Memphis, Tennessee. In the days after the murder, Ellis deposited over $9,000 in cash into various bank accounts. On March 21, 2016, Norman contacted the life insurance company in an attempt to collect on the life insurance policy he had obtained on his nephew.

Terica Ellis was also charged by complaint with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, resulting in death.

United States Attorney Jeff Jensen credited the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI. Jensen stated, “The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section and FBI have established a dedicated and effective partnership in this extensive investigation.”

The arrests are part of Operation LeGend which is a federal partnership with local law enforcement to address the increase in homicides and violent crime in St. Louis in 2020. The operation honors the memory of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest fatalities during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings. Additional federal agents were assigned to the operation from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section and Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating these current charges.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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