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KLTV: Juror talks about Bernie Tiede trial and sentence

April 26, 2016


A juror from Bernie Tiede's resentencing trial is talking about why she feels the former Carthage mortician deserved another life sentence.

Last Friday, a Rusk County jury sentenced Bernie Tiede to 99 years or life in prison for killing Marjorie Nugent in 1996.  Tiede was hoping to received a lighter punishment for the murder but Friday's decision was the same sentence given to him in 1999 by a San Augustine jury.

Alternate juror Beverly Center, who did not deliberate with the 12 jurors but sat through the entire trial, said she expected the verdict to be a life sentence.

"The fact that [Tiede] murdered [Nugent], put her in the deep freezer, and went on with the day like he hadn't done a thing,"  Graves said.  "He would have continued to do it if he didn't know at some point he was going to get caught."

Centers said though she never saw the 2012 movie 'Bernie,' based on Tiede's case, some of the other jurors had.

"While i was sitting on the jury, I had to put myself in the [Nugent] family's shoes, and then I had to put myself [in Tiede's shoes] who had to grow up being abused and going through all that [he] went through."  

The childhood sexual abuse Tiede suffered were among the aggravating factors his attorneys said warranted a lighter sentence.  For Centers, the abuse details were sad to hear, but not enough to change her mind about Tiede deserving life in prison.    

"When the psychiatrists got on the stand...and they didn't see any psychotic breaking point for Bernie, and there was nothing mentally wrong with him," Centers said. "Yes it helped him a little, but not enough to save him."  

After the verdict was read on Friday, Centers said she hugged the Nugent family. 

"I wouldn't want someone to take my mother just because we didn't get along, and any chance that we might have had to get along later..he took that...he took that from them"  

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