New developments in Bernie Tiede case

Published: Oct. 24, 2014 at 2:26 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2014 at 2:40 AM CDT
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PANOLA COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Marjorie Nugent's family is taking steps to make sure Bernie Tiede goes back to prison.

Tiede, you may recall, was convicted of shooting Nugent in 1997, then putting her body inside a freezer in her Panola County home. Nugent was found months later, and Bernie Tiede was sentenced to life in prison. However, Bernie only spent 17 years behind bars and Nugent's family is not happy with his release.

They filed an open records request with the Panola County Sheriff's Office to gain access to evidence collected during the 1997 murder trial. That request asks for an inventory of evidence taken from Nugent's home, her computer and any videos taken from Tiede's home, and any financial statements collected from Tiede or Nugent.

The Nugent family believes the financial statements collected as evidence will help prove Marjorie's murder was not a moment of sudden passion or a disassociate episode as was recently testified by a psychologist in Tiede's case.

Bernie's case was brought back to Panola County in May based on new evidence. A psychologist testified Bernie snapped and committed murder because of underlying mental health issues he faced after being sexually abused as a child.

Bernie was released on time served, and the Nugent family is fighting back. They want to know why Bernie spent millions of dollars of Marjorie's money for nine months after he murdered her. They believe Bernie and Marjorie's financial documents can be used as new evidence to send Bernie back to prison.

In a response to Shanna Nugent's open records request, the Panola County Sheriff says, "The relevant information ... may be used to prove the illegal withdraws by Tiede from the Nugent accounts through power of attorney after he murdered her."

The document also says, "The information is also relevant to specific investigation and prosecution in the possible new punishment trial in the murder case since Tiede acted in a knowing deceptive course of conduct over several months by withdrawing large sums of money and spending or giving it away. This conduct may be relevant to explain why Tiede murdered her and hid her body in a freezer."

The Panola County Sheriff's Office sent Shanna Nugent's open records request to the Attorney General for approval. They want to make sure the evidence is able to be released because it is still part of an ongoing investigation.

Bernie still faces a 10 count indictment for unlawfully appropriating money from Nugent and her heirs. His murder case is in the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They will decide if Bernie's release will stand, if he should go back to prison, or if there needs to be a new trial.

Bernie Tiede is currently living with Richard Linklater, the director of the film Bernie which was based on Tiede's story, in Austin. 

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