Exotic dancer testifies in Sweetie Pie’s murder-for-hire trial

Norman is the son of Robbie Montgomery, who founded Sweetie Pie’s in 1996.

Norman/STL Today

A woman convicted in the Sweetie Pie’s murder-for-hire conspiracy testified Thursday, along with several other witnesses. Terica Ellis told the jury about what happened before the death of Andre Montgomery Jr.

Norman is the son of Robbie Montgomery, who founded Sweetie Pie’s in 1996. The restaurant and Montgomery family were the subjects of a reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network called, “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

Terica Ellis, an exotic dancer living in Memphis, Tennessee, was accused of setting Andre up and tipping off Norman and others about Andre’s location prior to the murder. She pleaded guilty in July 2022 to one count of murder-for-hire conspiracy.

In federal court Thursday, Ellis says she met with Norman at a hotel in the early morning hours of March 14, 2016. The exotic dancer was working at an East St. Louis strip club overnight. Ellis said she lived in the Memphis area, but made frequent trips to St. Louis for weekend work. She said she knew Norman since 2011 and he was a “friend with benefits.”

That night Ellis recalled Norman saying that his nephew had stolen money and jewelry from his mother’s house and he wanted to get her belongings back. Norman then reportedly showed her a photo of his nephew, later identified as Montgomery. Ellis said she knew him and had exchanged phone numbers.

Per Elllis’ testimony, Norman then offered her $10,000 to help him find Montgomery. He gave her the money in a bag and the two left the hotel. According to Ellis’ testimony, she started communicating with Montgomery before she left the hotel.

According to Ellis’ testimony, she started communicating with Montgomery before she left the hotel and was given a prepaid phone to further communicate with him. Ellis then switched to texting Montgomery on a prepaid phone purchased at a Walgreens and falsely told him her other one was broken as part of Norman’s request. 

Ellis says she met Montgomery early in the afternoon at a La Quinta Inn. Montgomery informed her he was on a photoshoot, then asked her to buy him a new outfit, but had not offered any money. Ellis says she went to the Galleria to purchase some clothes and meet Montgomery again around 7 p.m. at an address in the 3900 block of Natural Bridge Road. She had also been in communication with Norman about the meet-up.

Prior to then, Norman also asked Ellis to stay in touch with a contact named “Tim’s Homeboy” on the prepaid phone. That contact, formally known as Travel Hill and also convicted in the case, later traveled to the address after talking to Ellis and instructed Ellis to “Move” via text after Montgomery left her car after a brief conversation between the two. In that conversation, Ellis says there was no indication Hill had a gun or would harm Montgomery. 

Ellis says she sped off after Montgomery left the car. Within seconds, she heard gunshots and contacted Norman about the situation, who told her “don’t worry about it, go home” over a call. Norman then informed Ellis to drive away from St. Louis, delete her Instagram account and get rid of her burner phone, per her testimony. 

Later in March, Ellis was in contact with Norman and informed to stay out of St. Louis since she was wanted for questioning in Montgomery’s death. 

Travell Hill, the accused trigger man, offered testimony after Ellis. Hill was indicted in November 2020 on one count of murder-for-hire and one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. He pleaded guilty in June 2022, and he’ll be sentenced on Sept. 20.

Hill, who claims he supported himself through drug deals, says he met with Norman and another acquaintance known as White Boy Chris before the night of the deadly shooting. After meeting with both, Hill says he went to purchase a gun and had been in contact with Ellis about her plans to meet Montgomery. 



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