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Lighter sentence sought for man convicted of murder in case on which film 'Bernie' was based

FILE - This Aug. 18, 1997 file photo provided by the Panola County Sheriff's office shows a booking photo of Bernie Tiede. Attorneys for Tiede, serving a life sentence for the death of a rich East Texas widow in 1997, are seeking a lighter sentence. The grounds are contained in documents unsealed Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at the Panola County Courthouse in Carthage, Texas. (AP Photo/Panola County Sheriff Office, File)

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FILE - This Aug. 18, 1997 file photo provided by the Panola County Sheriff's office shows a booking photo of Bernie Tiede. Attorneys for Tiede, serving a life sentence for the death of a rich East Texas widow in 1997, are seeking a lighter sentence. The grounds are contained in documents unsealed Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at the Panola County Courthouse in Carthage, Texas. (AP Photo/Panola County Sheriff Office, File)

CARTHAGE, Texas - Attorneys for a former mortician serving a life sentence for the death of a rich East Texas widow are seeking a lighter sentence.

Bernie Tiede (TEE'-dee) is doing a life stretch for the 1997 death of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in a case that inspired Richard Linklater's 2011 movie "Bernie."

Panola County Court documents unsealed Wednesday show Tiede's attorneys want to introduce new evidence of a history of severe sexual abuse of Tiede and an abusive relationship between him and Nugent.

Tiede's attorney, Jodi Cole, writes that the abuse finally pushed Tiede over the edge and he shot his elderly companion.

Tiede, now 55, was convicted in February 1999 of killing Nugent and keeping her body in a freezer for nine months.

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