Longview News Journal
December 23, 2014
By Glenn Evans
The clock began ticking Monday for the court where Bernie Tiede was convicted of murder to issue a warrant for him to return for a new punishment hearing.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals mandate issued Monday formalized the Austin panel’s Nov. 26 ruling vacating the life sentence a jury handed Tiede in 1999 for the murder of Marjorie Nugent two years earlier. The state’s highest criminal venue also agreed with the lower court that a new sentencing trial take place.
The order gives the Panola County District Court 10 days to produce a warrant summoning Tiede back to Carthage for a new punishment trial.
Tiede, 56, has been free on a $10,000 bond, with conditions including he remain the guest of Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater, since May. That’s when his motion for a new punishment trial was granted in Carthage.
Linklater’s feature film “Bernie,” which was based on the case, in 2011 drew national attention to the murder in small-town East Texas, including from an attorney who worked with Linklater to win Tiede’s freedom from his life sentence.
The Travis County District Clerk had received the court’s mandate by late Monday morning, but the document had not yet reached either the clerk in Carthage or 123rd District Judge Charles “Brick” Dickerson by the afternoon.
It also was unknown Monday whether Dickerson would excuse himself from a punishment hearing for Tiede. Dickerson, whose office did not return a call Monday, had secured a visiting judge last May to hear Tiede’s motion to vacate his life sentence.
District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson told Visiting Judge Diane DeVasto in May that he would have prosecuted Tiede under a second-degree murder charge in 1999 had he been aware of new evidence Tiede presented then.