DALLAS, TX (KLTV) - November 6, 2014
The family of Marjorie Nugent, the Carthage woman killed by Bernie Tiede, says their recent trip to Panola County is revealing more about what happened before Marjorie's murder.
The Panola County Sheriff allowed the family to look at new pieces of evidence that were locked away for 17 years. The family released information to KLTV about deposit slips from Marjorie Nugent's bank account. They say the slips show Bernie was misleading Marjorie by depositing money in his own account then showing her forged deposit slips indicating the money was being put into her account.
We spoke to Bernie about Marjorie Nugent and what led him to kill her. He shared his story in 2012 from the Barry Telford Prison Unit in New Boston where he was serving a life sentence.
"She kind of spurned a lot of people away from her in a lot of respects in town," said Bernie, "Even her family and her sisters and her son...She couldn't stand him. They hadn't talked to each other in 15 years."
The Nugent family says that's not true. They did not want to comment about the case when we reached out to them in 2012 but, with Bernie's release from prison in May, they now say silence is not an option.
Shanna Nugent says the story starts when her grandfather passed away in 1990.
"My grandmother, when she met Bernie, was at my grandfather's funeral. She was 80 years old. She was legally blind. She could still see, but barely," says Shanna Nugent. "She hired Bernie on to be her caregiver, to read her mail to her and to be her book keeper. She was paying him $900 a week for that service."
Shanna Nugent's family lived in Amarillo at the time. She says they saw no problem with this arrangement until two years later.
"By 1992, my family had major alarm bells. We were trying to figure out a way to talk to her about how this guy was a bad guy," says Shanna Nugent.
She says Marjorie started pushing everyone but Bernie away.
"It's hard when you're dealing with an elderly person who has their faculties but are making really bad decisions and it's hard to know how to handle that. At some point, we basically asked her for some accounting of my grandfather's trust."
Shanna says Bernie and Marjorie refused to give it to them so they sued her. Longview Bank and Trust replaced Marjorie as trustee of her late husband's fund.
"As they are putting together all of the assets, there's missing money," says Shanna Nugent.
She says more than $3 million disappeared and Marjorie cut off communication with her family.
"We had lost contact with her. Bernie had told about seven or eight different lies about where she was and we had been trying to track her down."
Shanna's father, Marjorie's only son, worked to get himself named as Marjorie's legal guardian.
"They drove to Carthage, filed that with the courthouse, got the sheriff's office, hired a locksmith, so this is a big orchestration. I think sometimes people don't understand that this was all my family that did this. Then they break into the house," says Shanna Nugent.
Shanna says her sister then finds Marjorie inside a freezer.
"She [the sister] says she doesn't remember what she saw. She says she's kind of blacked that out. One of the officers was right behind her and so I guess he saw what he saw ... it was a very surreal experience. It wasn't something I think we were really expecting. Maybe looking back we should have, but it came as a big shock."
Bernie confessed to killing Marjorie. Then came the trial.
"It took three years to go through a murder trial and we were hoping that it was over. They made this movie in 2011, which made us relive it, it was a horrible movie that villainized my grandmother terribly," says Shanna Nugent.
She says no matter what you thought of Marjorie Nugent, she did not deserve to die.
"This is the most successful blame-the-victim campaign I have ever seen in my entire life."
Shanna says she is tired of people trying to tell her the facts about her family.
"There are a lot of crazy things that have been said. I think one of the craziest things is that my family didn't have a relationship with my grandparents."
That relationship was cut short and Shanna says she doesn't want any other family to experience her pain. She is starting a non-profit organization to help spread awareness about elder financial abuse. She says Marjorie gave her family many of the warning signs, including signing over her power of attorney to Bernie.
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