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Texas judge rules Tiede released from prison with conditions

According to the Panola County Watchman, Bernie Tiede is to be released from prison on time served following a ruling today by visiting Judge Diane DeVasto in Panola County.


UPDATE (KETK-NBC):  Tiede was released later Tuesday on bond, according to judicial records. It's possible he could return to prison if the appeals court rejects the recommendation. Tiede agreed to all of the conditions.



According to the Panola County Watchman, Bernie Tiede is to be released from prison on time served following a ruling today by visiting Judge Diane DeVasto in Panola County.


Tiede will be released on $10,000 personal recognizance bonds with terms that include that he must maintain employment, submit to and pay for random drug testing, live in a designated residence, not have contact with the victim’s family and not possess a firearm.


The conditions apply to both a murder charge and theft charge relating to the 1996 shooting death of Marjorie Nugent.


The decision will be reviewed by the court of appeals.


Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson said Tuesday he believes Tiede should have been tried in the 1990s on second degree murder with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.


“Therefore I am agreeable to shortening his sentence to be time served,” said Davidson, who oversaw Tiede’s original prosecution.


Davidson’s decision came after psychiatrist Dr. Edward Gripon testified that he does not believe Tiede committed pre-meditated murder in the 1996 shooting death of Marjorie Nugent. Tiede was sentenced to life in prison for Nugent’s death.


Gripon, a 42-year psychiatrist from Beaumont, testified in Tiede’s original case but was not given the opportunity to talk to Tiede before the trial. He spoke to Tiede on Jan. 24 after Tiede had returned to Panola County.


Gripon said he believed Tiede had a dissociation episode stemming from being sexually assaulted as a child. That information, which was not presented in the original trial, could have been used in the sentencing phase for the maximum 20-year sentence.


“In my opinion he reacted on an impulse,” Gripon said referring to Nugent’s death. “They had an unusual and rather toxic relationship. For all the good there was with it, there was a certain amount of abuse and control and possessiveness.”


Gripon said he believed that relationship built up over time, and that Tiede suffered a brief dissociation episode at the time of Nugent’s death.


Afterward, Tiede placed Nugent’s body in a freezer, cleaned up the crime scene and ended the day with a pizza party.


“Those kinds of actions are in self-preservation,” Gripon said.


He added that Tiede likely compartmentalized the incident.


“It’s a way that you divide things in order to cope,” Gripon said.


Tiede likely acted “out of anger” and had he thought about what he was doing, Gripon said he believed Tiede could have separated himself from it.


Gripon testified that he does not believe Tiede is a danger to society since he had no history of violence prior to the 1996 incident and has not had a “problematic” prison record.


“It was a unique and usual event that occurred,” Gripon said. “It is not likely to recreate itself.”


Tiede is likely to live with “Bernie” film director Richard Linklater and work for his attorney, Jodi Cole, in Austin.


Director Richard Linklater took the stand during a bond hearing for Bernie Tiede and said Tiede would be welcome to live with him in Austin. 


Linklater told the court he would report it immediately if Bernie violated any rules of probation.


 Documents filed at the courthouse stipulate terms of Tiede’s release:


“This Court orders that if personal bond is granted, that pretrial supervision be transferred from Panola County to Travis County, and that supervision is subject to the following conditions:


I. Submit to random drug testing at Mr. Tiede's expense;


2. Report to Mr. Gerald Rodriguez in Travis County Pretrial Supervision within 48 hours of release;


3. Any supervision fees related to Travis County's courtesy supervision should be paid by Mr. Tiede's, as a bond condition;


4. Live in designated residence;


5. Maintain employment with designated employer:


6. Surrender any passport to the Court;


7. Not obtain a passport or other international travel document;


8. No voluntary contact with media;


9. No change of address without informing Mr. Rodriguez and the Court, in writing, within 12 hours;


10. No change of employment without informing Mr. Rodriguez and the Court, in writing, within 12 hours;


II. No travel outside of Travis County, Bastrop County, Williamson County, Caldwell County, Hays County, and Comal County, without prior permission from the Court;


12. Fully adhere to terms specified in 'Treatment Plan" at Mr. Tiede's expense;


13. Participate in family counseling with sister, as recommended by therapist:


14. No contact with victim's family;


15. Any other conditions required by Travis County Pretrial Supervision.





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