Sentencing trial begins in case that inspired film 'Bernie'

AP News
Posted: Apr 06, 2016 10:25 PM

HENDERSON, Texas (AP) — A sentencing trial is underway for the East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy movie "Bernie."

Bernie Tiede (TEE'-duh) was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior whom he befriended in Carthage. Tiede was sentenced to life in prison but freed after a prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a reduced prison sentence because of abuse he suffered as a child.

Jurors could now send him back to prison or let him remain free.

According to The Dallas Morning News ( ), prosecutor Lisa Tanner argued Wednesday that Tiede "was stealing Marjorie Nugent blind, and he was doing it cleverly."

But defense attorney Mike DeGeurin said Nugent controlled Tiede and had a "mean streak and an abusive streak."