There’s a sequel to Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie — but it won’t be appearing on the big screen. The Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey-starring film was inspired by the case of former mortician Bernie Tiede. The small-town Texas funeral director was convicted of murdering and dismembering wealthy 81-year-old widow Marjorie "Marge" Nugent, who was his close friend and companion. It took nine months for Marge’s body to be found. Tiede was sentenced to life in prison in 1999.
News has arrived that Tiede will have his sentence reduced to time served and be released on $10,000 bail, but the weirdest part of the story is this: he will also have to live in Richard Linklater’s garage apartment in Austin until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals approves the reduced sentence. Oh dear.
Linklater's film inspired a group of attorneys to push for Tiede's appeal. They discovered that Tiede had been reading self-help books about sexual abuse, and he eventually admitted he was abused in the past. One psychiatrist visit later, it was determined that Tiede was not equipped to handle the emotionally abusive Marge, which is what led to the murder.
“Myself and others are determined to help him in any way we can,” Linklater told the Texas Tribune. Tiede will continue to seek therapy upon his official release. Until then, let’s hope Linklater doesn’t wind up in a freezer chopped to bits.
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