They say art imitates life, but in this case life imitates art as well. In an ironic twist, director Richard Linklater will become landlord to Bernie Tiede, a convicted murderer, who was the subject of a film Linklater directed three years ago.
The movie was based on actual events in Tiede’s life. Back in 1996, Tiede, a mortician, shot and killed his friend Marjorie Nugent, a rich Texas widow with a cranky disposition. He shot her four times in the back and stored her body in a deep freezer at his home.
In a surprising twist, the man doomed to a life sentence was released on a $10,000 bond—based on a few conditions.
The first was that Tiede take up residence in a garage apartment owned by Linklater, who willingly obliged.
Other factors prompting his release sound like a movie plot in and of themselves. Despite Tiede’s crime, he had popular support throughout the town of Carthage, Texas. People adored him and considered him “the nicest guy in town.” Meanwhile, Nugent was hated by the townspeople.
According to one resident, Nugent was mean, and people wouldn’t blame Tiede for murdering her.
But it was actually Linklater’s film “Bernie” that helped Tiede’s cause. It raised the issue of Tiede’s sexual abuse, prompting his attorney to claim his sentence was extremely harsh.
Tiede’s release angered Nugent’s granddaughter who claims that people are overly focused on the fiction, rather than the facts. Either way, art and life are oddly intertwined in this strangely surreal case.
Photo: The Guardian