East Texas Mortician ‘Bernie’ Freed From Prison
A former mortician whose killing of a rich widow shook an East Texas town and later inspired a movie will soon go free, after the district attorney who prosecuted him agreed Tuesday to let him out of a life sentence.
A judge set a $10,000 bond for Bernie Tiede after recommending that his prison term be reduced. He was expected to be released later Tuesday. A state criminal appeals court must sign off on the sentence reduction while Tiede is out on bond.
The now-55-year-old Tiede, who was well liked in the close-knit community of Carthage, was convicted in the death of his longtime companion, Marjorie Nugent. The 81-year-old widow had a reputation among townspeople as a crotchety cheapskate. The case inspired the 2012 dark comedy “Bernie” starring Jack Black in the title role and Shirley MacLaine as Nugent.
The judge has agreed to let Tiede live with filmmaker Richard Linklater, who made the 2012 dark comedy and volunteered to take Tiede in. Tiede will be under strict bond conditions.