Prosecutor seeks to withdraw from case of murderer depicted in film 'Bernie'
By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - The Texas prosecutor who won a murder conviction against a former mortician whose story inspired the 2011 film "Bernie," asked on Monday to be recused from prosecuting the man's re-sentencing, court records show.
Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson filed the motion asking that he and other prosecutors in his office be recused and that a special prosecutor be appointed.
"Due to the fact that I have become, through no fault of my own, a witness in the case, I cannot remain the prosecutor," Davidson said in the motion.
Davidson did not specify how he has become a witness but filed the motion ahead of a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Tuesday, when Tiede was due back in court.
A Texas appeals court ruled in November that Tiede, 56, was entitled to reconsideration of his sentence of life in prison for the murder of wealthy 81-year-old East Texas widow, Marjorie Nugent. He had been convicted of shooting her to death in 1996 and hiding her body in a freezer.
Attorneys for Tiede argued that new evidence suggested he was sexually abused as a child, which caused him to snap and shoot Nugent in a fit of rage.
The jury ruled out sudden passion and sentenced Tiede in 1999 to the maximum of life in prison for premeditated murder.
Tiede was released from prison on a $10,000 personal bond last May and had been living with "Bernie" filmmaker Richard Linklater in Austin. Continued...