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Nugent family: Sheriff has evidence that proves Bernie Tiede should go back to prison


By Field Sutton

EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -Marjorie Nugent's family believes there is a new reason for the state's highest criminal court to take another look at Bernie Tiede. 

Tiede has been free for months after successfully arguing that Nugent abused him, and that he just "snapped" the day he shot her in 1996.

Months after Tiede walked free from the Panola County Courthouse, his victim'granddaughterer, Shanna Nugent, filed an official public information request with the Panola County Sheriff's Office. She was asking for all the financial evidence gathered during Marjorie's murder investigation.

Largely unknown--until now--is that Marjorie's family believes Tiede had at least one clear reason to shoot Marjorie the day he did.

"They had this meeting with the bank and the bank's lawyers to try to solve where all this money was the day he killed her," Shanna said.

The implication is clear: Shanna believes Tiede knew the jig was up, so he tried to cover it up.

"I want the Court of Criminal Appeals to look at this whole case, to get it right, and to send this guy back to jail where he belongs."

The state's highest criminal court is supposed to decide whether Tiede's freedom becomes permanent. That freedom was granted based on expert testimony centered on the general premise that Marjorie's murder wasn't Tiede's fault.

"In my opinion [Tiede] reacted on an impulse," Psychiatrist Dr. Edward Gripon testified in May. "[He and Marjorie] had, briefly stated, they had a very unusual, dysfunctional and rather toxic relationship."

The problem with that comes in the form of a letter from Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake. It was written to ask the Attorney General's office to deny Shanna's request for the financial evidence.

But the justification for that denial is what caught Shanna's attention.

The sheriff wrote that Tiede was engaged in a "deceptive course of conduct" before and after the murder which allegedly included "withdrawing large sums of money" from Nugent's accounts.

"The concealment of the body and deception in the withdrawals appears contrary to the sudden passion/emotion defense" that freed Tiede in the first place, Lake wrote. He went on to say the evidence Shanna wants could prove that her grandmother's murder was intentional and "rebut or counter the new evidence which arose in the writ hearing" where Tiede convinced a judge to let him go.

"It's pretty shocking that all of that didn't come into this writ hearing," Shanna said. "I mean it's almost unfathomable."

Shanna said she sees two options going forward. She hopes that District Attorney Danny "Buck" Davidson will realize the significance of the evidence and report it to the Court of Criminal Appeals. If not, she hopes to win the right to see that evidence so she can take it to court herself.

CBS 19 was unable to reach Davidson by phone or email Friday.

Tiede has been living in Austin for the last several months with the man who made the Hollywood movie about his life. He has not spoken publicly since he was released from prison.

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