Town of Carthage abuzz as city reacts to news of Bernie Tiede re - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Town of Carthage abuzz as city reacts to news of Bernie Tiede release

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James Wilson and James Baker chat about Bernie's release near the Panola County Courthouse. (Source: KLTV Staff) James Wilson and James Baker chat about Bernie's release near the Panola County Courthouse. (Source: KLTV Staff)
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CARTHAGE, TX (KLTV) -

Word spread quickly through the town of Carthage that Bernie Tiede had been let out of jail.

Several East Texans who knew Bernie and remember the day they found out their friend was guilty of murdering Marjorie Nugent said this day brings mixed emotions.

“I’m glad that he’s out. I don’t think that he’s a threat to anybody anywhere, but in the back of my mind you do say well, he did murder her and put her in a freezer,” James Baker, who knew Bernie, said.

“It’s just not in his nature to do that. Bernie was pushed, you know,” James Wilson, who also knew Bernie, said.

The town was abuzz about Bernie Tiede. For James Baker and James Wilson, it’s an eerie reminder of one day years ago.

“At first I didn’t believe it. I said they made a mistake,” Baker said about the day a jury found Tiede guilty of the murder of Marjorie Nugent.

Tiede worked at Hawthorn Funeral Home. That’s where Baker met him.

“A little prissy, you know, but he was a nice guy and very well thought of in the community,” Baker said.

“Bernie was always one of those most polite people you’d ever meet in your life. He’d do anything for anybody and he had a heart of gold. Everybody in Carthage loved him,” Wilson explained.

Both men said they showed up to the courthouse as soon as they heard the news Tuesday.

“Knowing Bernie I just don’t think Bernie would ever, ever be another threat to anybody,” Wilson said.

“I thought they were too hard on him to start with even though it was kind of a morbid thing that he did,” Baker said.

Both agree that what Tiede did was wrong. They also knew Marjorie Nugent.

“She was, she was not so nice of a lady. She had no friends. Even her family, she didn’t get along with her family,” Wilson said.

“And it’s still hard to believe that he did that,” Baker said.

That’s what prompted Baker to write the song, “Bernie What Have You Done,” which was used in the movie “Bernie.” Both men appeared in the film. They said they wouldn’t mind seeing the old Bernie again someday.

“Because there’s a lot of people that are against it and then, of course, there’s a lot of people that’s for it, but if they told Bernie that he could come live in Carthage I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Wilson said.

“Hey, there may be a follow-up movie. If they do I hope they give me a call,” Baker said.

Neither men said they had spoken to Bernie Tiede since he was convicted of murder.

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