Report: New evidence could mean Bernie Tiede released as soon as this week

Published: Mar. 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM CDT
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(KLTV) - Bernie Tiede, a former director at a Carthage funeral home, could walk free from prison as soon as this week, according to a report by Texas Monthly.

Tiede admitted to killing his friend and Carthage millionaire Marjorie Nugent in 1996. He was convicted of Nugent's death in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. Under that sentencing, he would not be eligible for parole until 2027.

But last week, Tiede was transferred from his prison cell in New Boston to the Panola County Detention Center. Authorities say new evidence has now surfaced in the case, and Tiede will now appear before a District Judge in a hearing expected to take place sometime this week.

Skip Hollandsworth wrote the original Texas Monthly report on Bernie in addition to co-writing the 2011 chronicle titled, Bernie. In his report on Saturday, he reveals more information from Tiede's attorney Jodi Calloway Cole.

Hollandsworth reports Cole is expected to file a writ of habeas corpus, which would allow Tiede to share grievances in his case before a district judge. Once the writ is filed, a judge could hear it within a few days. Texas Monthly reports Cole will ask that Bernie Tiede be freed from detention.

According to the report, Cole claims Tiede suffered childhood abuse from a family member as a teen, which could have contributed to his violent actions against Nugent. Cole arranged for Tiede to meet with a psychiatrist, who found in his report written in December that Bernie had been an "exemplary prisoner since his 1997 arrest," including teaching health courses to other inmates, attending weekly chapel service and obtaining his paralegal certificate though online courses. That psychiatrist also found that "it is extremely unlikely that…Mr. Tiede would ever commit any similar act in the future."

Hollandsworth also reports Tiede underwent a new psychiatric evaluation last week by Beaumont psychiatrist Dr. Edward Gripon. Gripon performed the evaluation of Tiede during his 1998 trial as well. Sources say that if Gripon decides that Tiede is no longer a threat and determines that he wouldn't commit a similar crime again, District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson could agree that Tiede's sentence should be shortened. Tiede has already served 16 years in prison.

If the judge does decide the argument has merit, Tiede could be released immediately on bond while he awaits a new punishment hearing . He could also instead receives parole altogether.

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