East Texas woman's gruesome murder to become Hollywood movie

CARTHAGE, TX (KLTV) - By Taylor Hemness - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

CARTHAGE, TX (KLTV) - More than a decade ago, a Carthage man confessed to killing an elderly woman, then putting her body in a freezer for months while he spent her money.

It was a crime that was talked about all over East Texas, and now, the story is being made into a movie.

It was August of 1997 when authorities discovered the body of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in the deep freeze of her home. She had been shot multiple times in the back, and her body had apparently been in the freezer for months. But that wasn't the part that shocked the people of Carthage the most.

"Bernie seemed to be the sweetest most compassionate people that you'd ever want to know," said one East Texan in 1997.

The real surprise came when Bernie Tiede confessed to the crime. He had become close to Nugent after her husband died. In addition to confessing to murder, he told authorities that he had been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of Nugent's money. But his confession apparently was not all that convincing.

"There was a lot of elderly people here in Carthage that even after it was all said and done, and he had signed a confession, that still would not believe that he had done it," said Dennis LaGrone.

Film crews will soon be in Carthage, to shoot Bernie, a dark comedy based on the murder, with funny man Jack Black in the title role, and Oscar-winner Shirley MaClaine playing Nugent. It has folks in Carthage seeing stars in their eyes.

"I've dreamed about being an actress, and being on TV," said Kristen Liedtke. "I'm in my drama team in my church, and I just love acting."

"It's probably a once in a lifetime deal," said Brack LaGrone. "I don't want to miss that."

"I've never acted before, so maybe this will be a first for me," Loletha Davis.

Other Carthage residents are thinking about the money a movie shoot would bring in, as long as it does not paint the town in a negative light.

"It depends on how they portray Carthage," said Carrie Liedtke. "If they're going to portray us as a bunch of ignorant people, then I don't think it would be good for the Carthage community."

Carthage residents may get their shot at stardom, because the film crew will reportedly be looking for extras.

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