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In his first court appearance since he was arrested and charged in an alleged 2016 plot to kill his nephew, Tim Norman pleaded not guilty to the murder-for-hire charges against him.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the 41-year-old Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s star appeared for a detention hearing to determine whether or not he will continue to be be detained in federal custody in St. Louis or if he will be able to be released while he awaits trial.

His attorney argued that the reality personality is not likely to be a flight risk. He said Norman should be allowed to post bond and be released from custody to stay with his mother, Robbie Montgomery, the Sweetie Pie’s restaurateur.

In addition to Miss Robbie, according to St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK, the attorney stated that Norman has two children in St. Louis who could visit him, as well as more than 20 family members in the area. This was all shared to make it clear that he wouldn’t have anyone to seek refuge with to allow him to flee prosecution. Connections in Texas and Mississippi are allegedly only business contacts pertaining to Sweetie Pie’s. However, per the Clarion Ledger, he does own a business in Mississippi, where he was extradited from and his attorney argued that he could also return to Jackson to await trial.

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

However, prosecutors said that because of the nature of the crime and the mounting evidence against Norman, he should be held as he awaits his trial.

Federal Chief Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker heard arguments from both sides, but has yet to make a decision.

Norman and Memphis native Terica Ellis are facing murder-for-hire charges and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire after being accused of using coordinating the murder of nephew Andre Montgomery, Jr. in 2016 in St. Louis. He was also hit with a charge of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud with the help of fellow St. Louis native and insurance agent Waiel Rebhi Yaghnam, also charged. Norman obtained several life insurance policies on his nephew before the 21-year-old was killed and he named himself the sole beneficiary on them. He was unsuccessful in getting the money from the policies due to the applications having false information regarding Montgomery.

Ellis, accused of luring Montgomery to his death for $10,000 from Norman, also pleaded not guilty when she appeared in federal court in September. She was ordered to be held in jail until her trial despite having a 2-year-old child with a health condition. Her lawyer claimed that Norman involved her to help him try and find and confront Montgomery about $200,000 in cash and jewelry stolen from Miss Robbie’s home in 2015. Montgomery denied any involvement and pointed the finger at Norman. He was killed four days after being questioned by authorities on the matter.

Federal prosecutors said on Tuesday that they were still deciding whether or not to seek the death penalty against Norman if convicted. He and Ellis are facing, at a minimum, a sentence of life in prison if found guilty.

Considering Ellis wasn’t allowed to be released on bond until her trial, the likelihood of Norman getting to leave jail is not high. But if he were, as stated, he could be released to his mother. She said in a brief statement via text to a friend concerning Norman’s charges, “Thanks For The Prayers, But At This Time I’m Weak And Can’t Make A Statement. Please Keep Praying For Me And My Son.”

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