Bernie Tiede's Past as a Sex Abuse Victim Considered in Ending Prison Sentence

We're assuming sales or rentals of the movie Bernie are getting a bump this week. Tuesday, Bernie Tiede, the movie's namesake and convicted East Texas killer of an old lady, was released from his life sentence. And in a Hollywood plot twist if there ever was one, a condition of his release requires him to stay at the home of Austin director Richard Linklater while Tiede undergoes therapy.

Following the movie, according to a lengthy recap from the Texas Tribune, Bernie's case was taken up by lawyers who found out he was affected by sexual abuse through his teens.

The lawyers were able to make a case to the prosecutor in the case that Bernie suffered a "dissociative episode" that led him to shoot Shirley MacLaine Marjorie Nugent and stuff her body in a freezer, the Tribune reports.

The state had a change of heart and no longer labeled Bernie the greedy BFF they convicted nearly 15 years ago.

The Tribune goes on to say:

Richard Pesikoff, a psychiatrist hired by Tiede's lawyers, evaluated him and concluded that the shooting was the result of a "dissociative experience" brought on when Nugent's allegedly abusive behavior eroded Tiede's ability to suppress his emotions. Tiede was able to go on for months after the murder as if nothing had happened because, as a closeted gay man in a tiny East Texas town, he had become accustomed to repressing parts of himself that others might reject, Pesikoff wrote in his report.

Nugent's family isn't happy with the situation, and we can't blame them. But we also don't doubt that being in the closet (in East Texas!) for much of your life has to do a number on the psyche.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.