‘Bernie’ seeks lighter penalty after evidence on sex abuse

CARTHAGE, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for a former mortician serving a life sentence for the death of a rich East Texas widow are seeking a lighter sentence.

Bernie Tiede is doing a life stretch for the 1997 death of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in a case that inspired Richard Linklater’s film “Bernie,” starring Jack Black.

Tiede, now 55, was convicted in February 1999 of killing Nugent and keeping her body in a freezer for nine months.

Panola County Court documents unsealed Wednesday show Tiede’s attorneys want to introduce new evidence of a history of severe sexual abuse of Tiede and an abusive relationship between him and Nugent.

Tiede’s attorney, Jodi Cole, writes that the abuse finally pushed Tiede over the edge and he shot his elderly companion.

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