Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marriage, Money and Murder: Steven and Celeste Beard

Devastating Testimony

During a pre-trial deposition, Celeste had flatly denied so much as kissing Tarlton. The statement was read to jurors, who surely puzzled over the denial in the face of contradictory testimony from a dozen eyewitnesses.

These included Celeste's twin daughters, who added devastating corroborating testimony.

Celeste Beard
Celeste Beard

Over three days on the witness stand, the young women said it was a mercenary marriage for their mother.

"She said that she married Steve for his money," testified Jennifer.

Kristina added, "She would sometimes make comments like, 'Why doesn't he just die already'...She would say that he disgusted her."

No detail was spared, including the Sabbath sexual get-togethers.

"What was the 'Sunday suck?'" asked prosecutor Weitzel.

"Celeste giving Steve a blow job," replied Jennifer.

The daughters said Celeste would rant about the "Sunday suck," then run off to see Tarlton or Jimmy Martinez.

Jurors heard Celeste's raunchy mouth first-hand during a "Mommy Dearest" moment on a recording daughter Kristina made of one of their conversations.

When the girl accused her mother of threatening suicide in February 1999 "get what you wanted," Celeste screamed, "I was fking depressed, you god-damned little bitch!"

Bankers and accountants offered itemized details on Celeste's extravagant spending. They also detailed the prenuptial agreement and testified that Celeste stood to gain roughly $6 millionhalf of Beard's estateas a result of his death.

At the end of testimony, prosecutor Weitzel summed up by saying, "Money is what this whole case is about."

Jurors deliberated 23 hours over three days before voting to convict.

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice

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