Bernie Tiede to be released from prison, pending appeals court approval

Bernie Tiede to be released from prison, pending appeals court approval
Panola Watchman (Photo from January 2014)
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 3:11pm

The man whose murder conviction inspired a 2011 movie was back in a Panola County courtroom Tuesday. 

At a 1:30 p.m. hearing, Judge Diane DeVasto, of the 123rd Judicial Court, ruled she would grant the release of Bernie Tiede based on additional conditions, including a $10,000 bond, random drug testing, report to Travis County, live in designated residence, hold a steady job, surrender his passport, have no voluntary contact with media, not possess a firearm and have no contact with the victim's family.

The Court of Criminal Appeals must approve the motion, but Tiede will be released in the near future after paperwork is complete. It's possible he could return to prison if the appeals court rejects the recommendation. Tied agreed to all of the conditions.

Tiede's attorney, Jodi Cole, requested the court recommend to the court of appeals a new punishment for Tiede.

During the hearing, Dr. Edward Gripon, of Beaumont, was called to testify in court.

Gripon, who was the original expert in 1999,  stated Tiede showed no signs of mental illness at the time, but there has been a "general increase" in the amount of mental knowledge since. He ultimately believes Tiede to should be set free after he killed Nugent during a dissociated episode.

A dissociated episode is a brief response to an enormous amount of stress without premeditation. 

Gripon was never allowed to meet with Tiede during the original trial. 

In a joint submission, both District Attorney Danny "Buck" Davidson and the defedent's lawyer believe Tiede should be released on time served, 17 years. Davidson said he would have only sought 20 years based on evidence now known about Tiede's past of sexual abuse.

According to documents released by the Panola County District Attorney's Office, previously sealed documents prompted a reinvestigation of Bernie Tiede's case. In the papers, evidence regarding a newspaper article written by Tiede's nephew, stated Tiede had been "severely sexually abused" as a child and the state has been able to verify the history of his childhood.

The convict was found guilty in the 1997 murder case of Marjorie Nugent, 81, back in February 1999.

The Film "Bernie" portrayed Tiede's case in a comical light and included the likes of Matthew McConaughey and Jack Black, who played Tiede.

Tiede still faces a 1997 theft charge.

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