Closing arguments start for Bernie Tiede sentencing retrial in Henderson

Bernie Tiede tears up as his uncle Elmer Doucet denies sexually abusing him as a child during day nine of Tiede's new sentencing trial, on Monday April 18, 2016, at the Rusk County Justice Center in Henderson Texas. Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior whom he befriended in Carthage. He was sentenced to life in prison but freed after a prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a reduced prison sentence because of abuse he suffered as a child. Jurors could now send him back to prison or let him remain free. (Michael Cavazos/Longview News Journal via AP, Pool)

HENDERSON, Texas (AP) - An East Texas jury will decide whether an ex-mortician convicted in the 1996 fatal shooting of a wealthy widow must return to prison.

Closing arguments began Friday afternoon in the Bernie Tiede sentencing retrial in Henderson.

The body of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent was found in 1997 in a freezer at her Carthage home. Authorities say Tiede and Nugent traveled the world using her money but had a turbulent relationship and he misused her funds.

Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Nugent and received life in prison. The story was the basis of the film "Bernie."

A judge in 2014 allowed Tiede to be freed on bond after the county prosecutor agreed that the penalty should not have been life behind bars.

State prosecutors handled the sentencing retrial.

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