Midnight in the Garden of East Texas
Marjorie Nugent was the richest widow in an eccentric town full of rich widows. Bernie Tiede was an assistant funeral home director who became her companion. When she disappeared, nobody seemed alarmed. When he confessed to killing her, nobody seemed outraged.
Sitting at his regular table at Daddy Sam’s BBQ and Catfish (“You Kill It, I’ll Cook It”) in the East Texas town of Carthage, district attorney Danny Buck Davidson began to realize that he might have some problems prosecuting Bernie Tiede for murder.
“Bernie’s a sweet man, Danny Buck,” a waitress said. “He’s done a lot of good things for this town. He’s given poor kids money to go to college and everything.”
“You got to admit nobody could sing ‘Amazing Grace’ like Bernie could,” someone else said.
The bulldog-faced Danny Buck took a bite of slaw and sipped his iced tea. “Now y’all know that Bernie confessed, don’t you?” he said, trying to keep his voice calm. “He came right out and told a Texas Ranger that he shot Mrs. Nugent four times in the back and then stuffed her in her own deep freeze in her kitchen.”
Skip Hollandsworth, writing for Texas Monthly, shares the unbelievably true story of a charming assistant funeral home director named Bernie Tiede who murders a wealthy widow, keeps her in a freezer for months, finally gets caught, and still has the town’s sympathy as his case goes to trial.