By Kathi Nailling
Athens — Marjorie Nugent, a rich eccentric woman in Carthage, Texas, had been missing for nine months when her body was found in a freezer. No one had noticed the woman was gone.
Danny Buck Davidson, a good ole’ Texas boy, is the Criminal District Attorney of Panola County. Davidson was at the Athens Rotary Club meeting Thursday to tell the members the story of Bernie Tiede and Marjorie Nugent, the very rich woman and the funeral-home director who killed her.
Davidson's character was brought to life on the big screen when the story about Bernie was made into a movie. Matthew McConaughey played Davidson, the district attorney, in the movie. According to Davidson, Nugent was not a very nice woman. He said even her family had a hard time getting along with her.
The movie and the story of Bernie is about a small-town funeral director beloved by nearly everyone in Carthage. Everyone loved Bernie, a lover of show tunes and Jesus — who ends up murdering a wealthy widow, 81-year-old Majorie Nugent.
Tiede stuffs her into a freezer after shooting her four times in the back. Her frozen body stays there for nine months. while Bernie spends a big chunk of her fortune. It is believed he spent millions of dollars, buying the people of Carthage pretty much whatever they wanted — cars, jet skis, airplanes — and pledging a new wing for the Methodist church. No one bothered to ask where he got so much money.
The two of them, Tiede and Nugent, took extravagant vacations all over the world, with Marjorie footing the bill.
Davidson said Nugent came from very old money in Panola County. In his words, “She would not have paid Bill Gates any notice, because he is new money.”
If you have ever heard the line “You can't make this stuff up,” that is certainly true about the murder and proscecution of Bernie Tiede. Bernie, who confessed to murdering Nugent, is serving a life sentence in Barry Telford Prison Unit.
According to news reports, when the movie came out, Tiede said he hadn't seen the movie that is based on how he got to the place he is today.
Davidson said he is in the office of District Attorney to get the job done, and that is just what he is doing. Davidson is very close to his goal of 6,000 convictions. He now stands at 5,900 convictions, which include pleas, trials and confessions.
During the weekly Athens Rotary meeting, President Robert Nelson presented Charles Tidmore with his second Paul Harris Fellow. Paul Harris was the founder of the Rotary. Each Rotarian who contributes $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation is presented a Paul Harris Fellow.