Bernie Tiede's attorney claims Nugent family stole money from victim's estate
PANOLA COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A motion was filed Monday morning in Panola County by Bernie Tiede's defense attorney, Jodi Cole. The motion requests the court dismiss the 1997 theft charges against Tiede for failure to give him a speedy trial among several other reasons.
Bernie Tiede was convicted of shooting Marjorie Nugent in 1996, then stuffing her body inside a deep freezer. Nugent's body was found months later in 1997. Tiede was arrested and convicted for her murder. He was also accused of stealing money from Marjorie Nugent and was charged with theft of more than $200,000.
Tiede was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge, but was never charged in the theft case. The Nugent family maintains Marjorie Nugent's murder was premeditated. They believe Tiede's motive was financial. They have filed several documents with the Panola County Courthouse and sheriff's office detailing money taken from Marjorie Nugent's account before and after her death. That evidence was never introduced in Tiede's murder trial.
The Panola County Courthouse announced Wednesday they will not consider any of the information provided in a recent Amicus Curiae filed by the Nugent family. The document detailed evidence the Nugents say shows Tiede killed Marjorie Nugent for her money.
The motion filed by Cole earlier in the week claims Marjorie Nugent's son, Rod Nugent, Jr., and an original administrator of Marjorie Nugent's estate were involved in a "scheme" to steal or embezzle money from the estate. Cole says she and Bernie Tiede learned about the alleged scheme in a will contest filing from one of Marjorie Nugent's sisters.
The Nugent family did not want to comment on the accusations and says they don't know anything about a possible "scheme."
The motion suggests there was a plea offer discussed by a federal prosecutor and civil attorney representing Rod Nugent, Jr., where Nugent agreed to Tiede receiving a 20-year offer in exchange for Tiede's assistance in a civil will contest. It says that assistance meant Tiede needed to falsely state in a will application that he had coerced Marjorie Nugent into leaving her estate to him.
The motion later says Cole is not sure if the allegations are true.
It also gives Cole's explanation for why Tiede took money from Marjorie Nugent's account after he murdered her. The motion sates Tiede had an "inability to face the reality of his situation" after experiencing a dissociative episode.
The motion also says Tiede's defense against his theft charge would be prejudiced by the loss of important witnesses who have died.
There are also details about the video tapes recovered from Tiede's home, many of which are sexual in nature. The motion claims Tiede was coerced during his confession by a deputy who threatened to publish the videos of Tiede's homosexual acts with other men. The motion says one of the men who was recorded in consensual sexual acts with Tiede was a deputy reservist at the time of Tiede's arrest.
The Nugent family is blamed in the motion for generating "additional negative media in larger Texas cities" that might have been used in Tiede's theft case.
The motion also states that Cole is concerned the Nugent family is attempting to form an agreement that Tiede be given time served for his murder charge in exchange for a certain plea for his theft.
Tiede spent 15 years in the Telford Unit prison in New Boston. His case was brought back to life in 2014 after new evidence was introduced to show Tiede was sexually abused as a child.
A judge in Panola County heard a recommendation from both Panola County District Attorney Danny "Buck" Davidson and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Edward Gripon on Tuesday that Bernie Tiede should be released from prison on time served.
Dr. Gripon told the court that he believes Tiede experienced a dissociative episode when the offense against Marjorie Nugent was committed. He said he believes the incident was not premeditated.
Tiede's case then went to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled in November 2014 that Tiede should be granted relief in the form of a new sentencing trial. That trial is set for June 1, 2015.
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