A convicted murderer whose story inspired a Hollywood film was back in a Texas courtroom on Wednesday for a new sentencing trial, PEOPLE confirms.
Bernie Tiede’s attorney, Michael DeGeurin, tells PEOPLE that testimony began Wednesday after three days of preliminary hearings.
Tiede, 57, has been free on bond for the last two years after courts dismissed his life sentence for murdering an affluent widow. His sentence was tossed after new evidence came to light, according to court papers.
A jury could decide to free Tiede, who was portrayed by actor Jack Black in director Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie, or return him to prison for the rest of his life.
Tiede, a mortician from Carthage, Texas, allegedly confessed to the 1996 shooting death of Marjorie Nugent, 81, whose body he later stuffed into a freezer.
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Nugent’s remains went undetected for nine months, during which time Tiede allegely spent much of her fortune, court records show.
Tiede met Nugent at the Hawthorne Funeral Home while preparing her husband’s funeral. He told investigators he killed Nugent after she became too controlling.
After the film hit theaters, Tiede hired a new lawyer who uncovered fresh evidence suggesting Tiede had endured years of sexual abuse as a child.
He could have received a lighter sentence in light of that fact, his lawyers have claimed.
Tiede’s new trial seeking a revised sentence is expected to last the next three weeks, court officials tell PEOPLE.