CARTHAGE, TX (KLTV) - The town of Carthage was on edge Wednesday awaiting an answer as to why Bernie Tiede was moved back to the Panola County jail eight days ago. A bench warrant was filed more than a week ago to have Tiede moved back to Panola County. That bench warrant means Tiede must appear before a judge.
Tiede was convicted of shooting and killing Marjorie Nugent in November 1996, then hiding her body in a freezer. In 1999, Tiede was sentenced to life in prison for the Nugent's killing.
The Panola County Sheriff’s Office told Tiede was transferred back because of new evidence in the case. As of Wednesday, Bernie Tiede had not seen a judge and remained in the Panola County Jail.
“We’re standing by waiting for the court order,” Chief John DePresca, with the sheriff’s department said.
Several officials we spoke with said they still had no idea why Tiede was moved back to Carthage.
“Playing what they know, maybe, close to the vest and no one is sharing any information with us,” he said.
We reached out to the district attorney, but still have not heard back, and we’re not the only ones.
“We’re on standby mode and as soon as somebody from the district court tells us what to do next, then we’ll snap into action and we’ll get it done,” the chief said.
New evidence seems to be the only motivating factor in that move. Reports say that Tiede’s new attorney, Jodie Cole, organized an interview between Bernie and a psychiatrist that uncovered Bernie had been abused by a family member when he was a teen, which could have contributed to his violent behavior.
“All I have to say is how many people have been put in jail before, that have been abused before?” Karen Turner, a Carthage native, said. “What makes him any different?”
A legal writ was expected this week that could allow Bernie to share grievances in his case before a judge. Officials tell KLTV they’re waiting.
“Some sort of legal writ for us to execute, we’ll certainly do that, but we have no idea what that could be or when it could be coming,” Chief DePresca said.
That psychiatrist also reportedly called Tiede an exemplary prisoner and said, “it is extremely unlikely that…Mr. Tiede would ever commit any similar act in the future.”
“He’s been no trouble,” admitted Chief DePresca.
“In fairness, and from a constitutional perspective, then Mr. Tiede may be entitled to have a judge listen to what that new evidence is and have a judge make a decision to whether or not that evidence might be valid enough to take it to the next step,” the chief said.
Whether that next step is out of jail remains to be seen. KLTV also reached out to Tiede’s attorney Wednesday and the district judge, but had not heard back from either.