Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marriage, Money and Murder: Steven and Celeste Beard

Murder's Aftermath

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, and the conviction brought a mandatory life sentence.

But Steven Beard's loved ones were given the opportunity to address Celeste during a sentencing hearing.

"I hope you burn in hell," said Beard's namesake son, Steven Beard III.

Perhaps most punishing were the comments of Celeste's daughter Kristina.

"You say we turned on you," Kristina said. "Well, you turned on us. You turned on the whole Beard family. He let you into his home, loved you, honored, obeyed you, and you violated him and murdered him...Shame on you!"

By Texas law, Celeste must serve at least 40 years in prison. She won't be eligible for parole until age 80.

Tracey Tarlton, profile
Tracey Tarlton, profile

Trigger woman Tarlton could be free as early as 2009.

Celeste was denied the inheritance she expected to receive.

Beard's estate went to his blood children as well as Kristina and Jennifer, his adopted daughters.

In TV interviews, Celeste continued to deny any involvement. She said she was a victim of her daughters, whom she accusedin a neat twistof being motivated by money.

"I hate to admit it, but the only reason why they could have turned on me was for the money," she told CBS. "They have two million reasons to lie."

Celeste did receive more than $1 million from the sale of property for which she was legally the co-owner.

She paid much of it to DeGuerin but was left with a six-figure sum.

Until 2043, her shopping sprees will be limited to prison commissaries.

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice


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