Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marriage, Money and Murder: Steven and Celeste Beard

Compulsively Extravagant

Celeste Beard, meanwhile, was having problems of her own.

For one thing, she was spending her husband's money like a crazy person.

He gave her a $10,000-a-month allowance, but that wasn't nearly enough.

Her three walk-in closets were lined with hundreds of pairs of shoes, each with a purse to match. She could have gone a year and a half without donning the same footwear.

She once went on a $50,000 shopping jag. She would throw extravagant parties for her friends on a whim, and the couple spent nearly $100,000 on a month-long trip to China in 1998.

Beard was wealthy, but he was no Donald Trump.

Celeste and Steven Beard
Celeste and Steven Beard

He had an estimated net worth of $12 million. In just four years of marriage, Celeste had raced through well over $1 million.

Beard and his wife often bickered over her spending. But the issue reached a crisis stage when Beard's accountant tallied up her 1998 holiday shopping and entertainment. She had blown nearly $300,000.

When Beard vowed to take away her credit cards, Celeste threatened suicide.

Beard paid to send her away to St. David's Pavilionanother considerable expense, it was true, but one that might save him money in the long run.

It was at St. David's in March 1999 that Celeste Beard became acquainted with Tracey Tarlton.

Tarlton was immediately smitten by the attractive, leggy Celeste. A few weeks later, she wrote her a love note:

"Celeste, you are so beautiful. I think about your long, silky body and your incredible, long legs and I just can't stand it. And then I think of your incredible face and I want to...stand outside your building and wail until I get arrested. We won't even talk about what happens when I think about your sweet, tough, sexy voice."

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice

 

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