Jury Gives Bernie 99 Years In Murder Case
Late Friday night an East Texas jury sentenced Bernie Tiede to 99 years in prison for the murder of Marjorie Nugent. The case was made famous in the 2011 movie Bernie. The movie added new lawyers on Tiede’s case who were successful in getting the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to give Tiede a new punishment trial.
The punishment trial lasted three weeks and was hard fought by experienced lawyers on both sides. Tiede’s defense team tried to persuade jurors Tiede had been abused by a family member when he was a child, which triggered a murderous response in him when Nugent became very controlling and abusive.
The prosecution produced evidence that Tiede had stolen millions of dollars from Nugent prior to her murder and afterwards. Their strategy paid off. The evidence of theft clearly hurt the defense theory of Tiede committing the crime because of previous sexual abuse. Prosecutors showed Nugnet was murdered when Tiede was questioned about how he had handled her money.
The defense was fighting an uphill battle. Mrs Nugent wasn’t the mean old widow as the movie portrayed her, and Bernie Tiede apparently stole millions of dollars. The evidence of theft took away any sympathy the jury had for the defendant.