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Texas's Most Loved Murderer

by Myriah 4 days ago in guilty

Some people are not at all what they seem. A small town in Texas discovered this the hard way in 1996. One seemingly caring and giving man turned out to be a murderer.

Marjorie Nugent and Bernie Tiede. Photo / CBS/48 Hours

Bernie Tiede appeared to be a very caring and generous person to the people of Carthage, Texas. The people collectively agreed that there was no way he had murdered his 81-year-old girlfriend, Marjorie Nugent. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Even after learning he had confessed, they still did not believe he was in the wrong. This case is a wild ride and anything but simple!

Tiede met Marjorie in 1990, sickly, at her husband’s funeral. Tiede was a mortician working at Hawthorne Funeral Home. He had helped arrange her husband’s funeral as the assistant director. Soon after the funeral, the pair were inseparable. A year later, Marjorie’s son had been written out of her will and replaced with Bernie Tiede. In another two, Bernie had quit his job to be with Marjorie full time. He became her business manager, personal assistant, and travel companion.

By November of 1996, their friendship must have gone downhill. Tiede shot Marjorie four times in the back with a .22 caliber rifle. He then placed her body in a freezer in her garage. It took nine months for Nugent to even be declared missing. Her son became worried after not being able to contact her. Rod Nugent traveled to Texas to visit with his daughter. They found her body in the freezer.

Meanwhile, Tiede had gone on with his life as normal. He had spent more than $500,000 of Nugent’s money. Some of the money he sent to the First Methodist Church. He also gave money away to other Carthage residents that were short on income.

Tiede confessed that he had murdered Marjorie Nugent. He claimed that he had enjoyed being around Nugent at first. She turned “very hateful,” though. He claimed she was very possessive over his life. He went so far as to call her “evil and wicked.” He told the police that he had fantasized about hitting her over the head with a bat. He decided to shoot her instead because he “didn’t want her to suffer.”

Some sources claim that Marjorie forced him to wait on her and take care of her. She had bought him a rifle and made him shoot armadillos in the backyard. When asked why he didn’t leave, Bernie said he was her only friend and Marjorie didn’t have anyone else.

Even after his confession, some of the people of Carthage insisted that Tiede was a good-hearted man. They claimed that Nugent had done nothing but get on people’s nerves. In fact, the district attorney had to move the trial to another county because of the townfolk’s bias.

During his trial, he claimed that he had never planned on killing Nugent. He had felt like he had watched himself pick up the gun and shoot Marjorie.

The jury only took 90 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict for Tiede. He was sentenced to life in prison. After his imprisonment, a criminal defense attorney named Jodi Cole decided to take on Tiede’s case. After investigating, Cole discovered that Tiede had been molested as a child by a family member. This led to a forensic psychiatrist concluding that Tiede experiences “psychological dissociative experiences” due to past trauma and his abuse from Marjorie Nugent. They believed that Tiede had experienced one of these episodes on the day he murdered Nugent.

In May of 2014, Tiede was allowed to go free on bond until another trial could be convened. After two years, Tiede found himself back in court. Once again, he was found guilty. He was painted as a conman that was only out for Nugent’s money. Nugent’s family was adamant that he had taken advantage of Marjorie and her fortune.

There is a lot to take in with this case. I am left not really knowing how to feel or what to think. What do you think? Was Bernie Tiede a victim or was his life sentence what he really deserved?



Myriah writes for fun in her spare time when she’s not working with or playing with dogs. She enjoys writing fiction, especially horror but is trying to branch out to other styles!

Read next: Little Black Book

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