Bernie Tiede shocked East Texas when the beloved funeral home director in Carthage admitted to killing his friend and local millionaire Marjorie Nugent.

He was later the subject of major magazine stories and eventually a major Hollywood movie, where Jack Black played Tiede in 'Bernie.'

Now, more than 17 years later, Bernie Tiede is a free man.

A Panola County judge on Tuesday ruled Tiede's life sentence should be reduced to time served. He must pay a $10,000 bond and live in the Austin garage apartment above Richard Linklater, the Hollywood director behind the movie 'Bernie.'

The case will now go to the Criminal Court of Appeals, which will ultimately decide if Tiede will be a free man forever.

Panola County District Attorney Danny "Buck" Davidson, who originally prosecuted Tiede in 1996, was one of two to make the recommendation to the court that Tiede be released based on new evidence.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Edward Gripon and Davidson both agreed that a history of abuse and new psychological findings are what contributed to Tiede's killing of Nugent. They both said they did not believe the murder was premeditated.

“I have made new, fully-formed assessments of the circumstances surrounding the shooting event, and Mr. Tiede’s lack of future dangerousness. I now feel that a life sentence is an inappropriate sentence for Mr. Tiede," Davidson said.

While living in Austin, Tiede will work as a legal clerk for lawyer Jodi Cole, who successfully appealed his case. She was inspired to reopen the case after watching the movie 'Bernie.'

Tiede was a local favorite in Carthage while he worked as an assistant director at a local funeral home. He killed Nugent in 1996 and hid her body in a freezer in her garage for nine months.

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