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Press Release

Man Who Fired Fatal Shots in Reality Show Star’s Murder-For-Hire Conspiracy Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge John A. Ross on Thursday sentenced a St. Louis man who killed a reality show star’s nephew to 32 years in prison. 

Travell Anthony Hill, 31, pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and one count of murder-for-hire in the death of Andre Montgomery Jr. on March 14, 2016.

In court Thursday, Hill re-affirmed what he’d admitted in his plea agreement. He admitted meeting with Montgomery’s uncle, James Timothy Norman, on the day of the murder. He admitted understanding that Norman wanted Montgomery killed, and that a woman would provide him Montgomery’s location so he could commit the murder.

Hill then obtained a .380-caliber handgun and fatally shot Montgomery, 21, at 3964 Natural Bridge Avenue in St. Louis after the woman lured Montgomery outside. Hill disposed of the gun and his phone and was paid $5,000 two days later.

Hill testified at Norman’s trial in September, before jurors convicted Norman, 43, of murder-for-hire and insurance fraud charges.

In court Thursday, Montgomery’s brother, Darren Griggs spoke of the effect of the murder on his family, saying, “We’re not whole and we never will be again.”

Judge Ross called Hill’s ambush of Montgomery “incredibly cold and callous” before stating Hill’s sentence.

Norman, of Jackson, Mississippi, is scheduled to be sentenced March 2.

Norman and Montgomery appeared on the reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s. Norman arranged for his nephew’s murder after fraudulently obtaining a life insurance policy worth $450,000 on Montgomery.

Ellis and the insurance agent, and Waiel “Wally” Rebhi Yaghnam, 44, both pleaded guilty on July 22. Ellis, an exotic dancer from Memphis, Tennessee who was paid $10,000 for locating Norman, pleaded guilty to the murder-for-hire conspiracy charge. Yaghnam pleaded guilty to a charge of wire and mail fraud conspiracy and admitted submitting five separate life insurance applications containing numerous false statements about Montgomery and then helping Norman file a claim.

Yaghnam is scheduled to be sentenced November 1 and Ellis on January 10.

The FBI and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angie Danis and Gwendolyn Carroll are prosecuting the case.

Updated October 20, 2022

Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses