Bernie Tiede seeks to have 1996 murder indictment set aside - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Bernie Tiede seeks to have 1996 murder indictment set aside

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A well-known murder case could once again wind its way through the long halls of the East Texas judicial system as the man sentenced twice is requesting to have his 20-year-old murder indictment set aside.

Bernie Tiede is serving a 99-year prison sentence for the 1996 murder of Carthage resident Marjorie Nugent, 81. It is the second sentence handed down to the former mortician from Panola County, and the result of a losing 2016 gamble to have his sentence reduced after accusations of childhood sexual abuse were brought to light.

An appeal was filed one month and a day after a Rusk County jury sent Tiede back to the Tedford Unit in New Boston. Attorneys on both sides have now filed briefs with the Sixth Court of Appeals as the 58-year-old’s quest for freedom continues.

In a brief filed in March, Tiede is asking for his 1996 murder indictment to be thrown out due to the “untimely disclosure of a grand juror.”

The March brief outlines how preparations for the 2016 resentencing uncovered an interview in which an original member of the Grand Jury who indicted him in 1997 spoke out against Tiede, calling him a ‘shyster.’ The unnamed juror claimed to have inside information on Nugent’s death.

Tiede also challenges the legality of his confession to shooting Nugent, alleging that it was illegally obtained because it was taken after he had invoked his right to counsel.

In the brief, Tiede also claims that an “unusual” plea agreement was reached between himself and Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson prior to the 2016 sentencing in which Davidson would seek a 20-year sentence with time served in exchange for Tiede not challenging his original conviction.

“Things changed when the district attorney eventually decided to recuse himself from the case. He was replaced by counsel from the Attorney General’s Office, who took the position that no agreement was ever in place,” Tiede’s brief states.

In a long-awaited brief filed June 21, Texas Assistant Attorneys General Lisa Tanner and Cara Hanna claim Tiede and his attorney failed to provide concrete proof of the agreement. No evidence of an agreement was presented in court.

The briefs also address legal issues involving Tiede’s 2016 sentencing. 

Tiede has requested oral arguments be held “ … because this case involves truly legal issues based upon a unique set of facts.” The state did not, writing that arguments are “unnecessary in resolving the appeal,” but adding that they would participate if the court deemed it necessary.

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