CARTHAGE, Texas (CBSDFW/AP) – A former mortician sentenced to life for killing a rich East Texas widow will be released from prison early under an agreement with the district attorney who prosecuted him.
A judge set a $10,000 bond for 55-year old Bernie Tiede after recommending that his prison term be reduced. He’s to be freed later Tuesday.
A state criminal appeals court must sign off on the sentence reduction while Tiede is out on bond.
Tiede was convicted in 1999 for the shooting death of Marjorie Nugent in a case that inspired the 2012 movie “Bernie” starring actor Jack Black.
81-year old Marjorie Nugent disappeared in 1996 and was found dead in a freezer nine months later at her Carthage home about 150 miles east of Dallas. She had been shot in the back four times with a .22-caliber rifle.
Tiede had met Nugent in 1990 at the funeral of her husband R.L. “Rod” Nugent, who had made his fortune in oil and banking. The two would grow close, taking trips around the world, and Nugent signed a will leaving her estimated $10 million fortune to Tiede.
The district attorney agreed with Tiede’s attorney that he deserved leniency.
Skip Hollandsworth with Texas Monthly co-wrote the screenplay for the 2011 film, and says that a psychiatrist will testify today that Tiede was severely abused by an uncle when he was a teenager.
Tiede must live with Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater, who made the dark comedy and testified at his hearing, as part of his release conditions.
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