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Did mortician kill, freeze widow to live off of her millions?

Posted at 4:57 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-01 15:50:22-04

Did a mortician kill and freeze a widow to live off of her millions, or was it a desperate act to end abuse?

A Texas widow worth millions was found dead in a freezer. Her companion, a mortician 40 years her junior, was charged with murder. It was a story right out of the imagination of a Hollywood screenwriter – except it was true.

Peter Van Sant and "48 Hours" investigate the death of Marjorie Nugent, shot dead by her beloved, constant companion, Bernie Tiede; the film the case inspired starring Jack Black; and the latest twist that has thrust the story back into the headlines in “The Mortician, The Murder, The Movie” to be broadcast Saturdayat 10 p.m.  on CBS 6.

Tiede and Nugent

Tiede and Nugent

In 1996 Tiede shot Nugent four times in the back. He then hid her in a freezer, where her body remained for nine months. All along, Tiede maintained a front that she was alive. Then police searched her home. Tiede confessed to the crime, and was sentenced to life in prison.

“I don’t know what happened,” Tiede says through tears.

The freezer

The freezer

The story of the mortician and the millionaire widow was so bizarre it captured the attention of Texas-based filmmaker Richard Linklater, who made it into the 2011 film “Bernie.”

By then, Tiede was in jail, but his story was far from over. Indeed, the film caught the attention of a lawyer, Jodi Cole, who dug deeper.

Cole raised allegations that Tiede was abused as a child and allegedly by Nugent, leading him to crack and kill. But would Cole even have a shot at getting a judge to look at the case?

“The thing about Bernie is that he’s incredibly lovable, and it’s really important to Bernie that he be loved,” says Black of Tiede, whom he played in the dark comedy about the case.

Nugent’s family maintains Tiede is conning everyone and that he killed just to hide that he squandered the widow’s money.

“I’m not buying it,” Black tells 48 HOURS. “Bernie’s a good guy.”

48 Hours: “The Mortician, The Murder, The Movie” is the second part of a Saturday night double feature.

At 9:00 PM, Richard Schlesinger returns to a case he and "48 Hours" have been covering for more than a decade in “My Mother’s Murder.”

Noura Jackson was a rebellious teen in 2004 when her estranged father was shot dead. Then, 15 months later, her mother was stabbed 50 times.

Noura told police suspicious stories about what she was up to before calling 9-1-1 to report her mother’s death, leading them to suspect she did it. She was later convicted of murder.

Case closed? Not even close. Schlesinger has the stunning twist that turned the case upside down.

“The Mortician, The Murder, The Movie” Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS 6!

“The Mortician, The Murder, The Movie” Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS 6!