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Document in Tiede case filed, sealed

From Staff Reports
Jan. 31, 2014 at 11 p.m.

CARTHAGE - A district judge this week sealed a document that could lead to the release of convicted killer Bernie Tiede - before removing himself from the case.

123rd District Judge Charles "Brick" Dickerson sealed the writ of habeas corpus filed on Tiede's behalf.

Dickerson recused himself because he represented the estate of Marjorie Nugent - the woman Tiede killed - but gave no reason for sealing the document.

A writ of habeas corpus is a means used to give a prisoner an opportunity to air grievances related to the handling of his case and to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining him. It also could make public any new evidence that might affect the outcome of a case.

A hearing has been set Wednesday in Carthage to consider matters in Tiede's case.

District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson has 15 days from Jan. 28 - when the document was filed - to answer the writ in writing by filing the answer with the Panola County district clerk. Once that deadline has passed or Davidson files his answer, Judge Diane DeVasto has 20 days to respond to the request.

DeVasto, a former Tyler appellate court judge, was appointed this week to preside over any hearings regarding new evidence that could affect Tiede's sentencing.

If DeVasto decides arguments raised in the writ need to be resolved, the case will go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Tiede is serving a life sentence in the 1997 murder of Nugent, his traveling companion.

At the time, Tiede was a beneficiary of the Carthage woman's multimillion-dollar estate.

Tiede has served 14 years of his life sentence. He has been in the Panola County jail since Jan. 21.

- Panola Watchman reporter Rodger McLane contributed to this report.



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