Bernie Tiede, the Carthage mortician who was convicted of killing wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent in 1996, will be heading back to prison after being resentenced by a jury on Friday. Tiede, who was the subject of the hit movie Bernie by Texas film maker Richard Linklater, was temporarily out of prison awaiting a resentencing trial after a state district judge set aside his original sentence of life in prison in 2014. The judge had determined that Tiede’s sentencing was unfair because evidence of sexual abuse that Tiede had allegedly suffered as a child was not allowed to be presented.
Tiede had been living in Austin in Linklater’s garage apartment during part of the time he was out of prison, but will now be incarcerated again. The new sentencing jury was apparently swayed by testimony from Nugent’s estranged family who portrayed a different portrait of the manipulative misanthrope played by Shirley Maclaine in the movie. The state presented evidence that Tiede enjoyed a lifestyle well beyond his means thanks to the company of older, wealthy widowed women, and that he killed Nugent when because he feared exposure of his mismanagement of her money. Tiede’s attorneys said he was the victim of Nugent’s emotional abuse and that his decision to kill her was a result of that abuse triggering the memories of being assaulted by his uncle. However, the uncle testified and denied that he had abused Tiede as a child.
After deliberating for only a few hours, the new jury sentenced Tiede to a sentence of 99 years to life. Tiede will not be eligible for parole for another 13 years. He he has already served almost 17 years for his crime.