Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marriage, Money and Murder: Steven and Celeste Beard

Sexual Conflicts

Tracey Tarlton
Tracey Tarlton

Tracey Tarlton and Celeste Beard met at St. David's, then transferred together to Timberlawn, a mental health facility in Dallas.

The women were caught in a passionate love clutch at Timberlawn, and the staff there tried to keep them separated.

But buckets of ice water couldn't have kept them apart, apparently.

"Celeste was extremely flirtatious with me from the beginning," Tarlton told CBS. "And I responded in kind. Eventually, she came into my room and kissed me. She wanted to have a sexual relationship with me."

Tarlton said the two women first had sex on March 20, 1999, and the physical relationship continued until Oct. 1 that year, the day before she shot Beard.

They were no more discreet about their affair outside the hospital than they were inside.

A photo from a BookPeople party shows Celeste sitting on Tarlton's lap. Other partygoers would later say they saw the women kissing passionately.

"Tracey wasn't secretive," Jeremy Ellis, who worked with Tarlton, told CBS. "Everyone in the store knew she was dating someone named Celeste. She spoke about her like she was her girlfriend. They were sort of physical, close with each other and I thought, 'Well, good for Tracey.'"

Tarlton sent Celeste love letters, and Celeste sent Tarlton a birthday card addressed "To the One I Love." They became regular customers at an Austin Red Roof Inn.

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