It's called "Bernie" and stars Jack Black as a lovable funeral home employee with a dark side. It's based on a true story out of East Texas, but the tale really begins here in Abilene.
"He was a classically nice guy," said Judge Thomas Wheeler when asked about former classmate Bernie Tiede. "I considered him one of my friends."
Wheeler and Tiede attended Cooper High School together back in the late 60s.
"Bernie and I were involved in a lot of the same activities," explain Wheeler. "We were on the speech team and did some drama productions together."
Now a major motion picture is out based on Tiedi's life. It stars Jack Black as Tiede.
So why is this seemingly harmless Abilene native to focus of a movie? Because he's a convicted, cold-blooded killer.
Despite being about a murder the movie is a comedy. It tells the story of Tiede befriending a wealthy widow, then killing her and hiding her body in a freezer for nine months while he spent her money to establishe scholarships, fund church renovations and donate to the Boy Scouts.
Tiede met his victim when he was a funeral director in Carthage, Texas. He helped her bury her husband who'd made a fortune in the oil business. Tiede got his start in the funeral home business just after graduating Cooper when he went to work for North.
Tiede's trial had to be moved out of Carthage. Everyone in town seemed to love Bernie and the prosecution thought the jury pool would be too sympathetic.