Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marriage, Money and Murder: Steven and Celeste Beard

Self-Made Man

Beard courted Celeste with ardor and an open checkbook.

For Christmas 1993, he gave Celeste a $16,000 diamond cocktail ring, a $3,000 wrist watch and a new Ford Explorer.

He also invited her to move in with him, and they began playing house on Jan. 1, 1994.

In the first year of the relationship, Beard paid a $20,000 restitution bill hanging over Celeste's head from the insurance fraud in Arizona, and he funded a custody battle over the twin girls with Celeste's first husband.

After 13 months of shacking up, Steven agreed to make the relationship legitimate.

But first, on Feb. 8, 1995, he and Celeste signed a prenuptial agreement. She would get $500,000 and not a penny more if they divorced. If she became his widow, she would stand to get much, much more, based upon a written will.

He was generous, but he was no fool.

Perhaps that is because nobody ever gave Steven Beard a dime.

The Texas native was a true bootstrapper. He served in the Navy Air Corps and attended college at Texas Christian and Southern Methodist.

He worked in radio and advertising in Dallas in the 1950s and '60s, starting at the bottom and climbing steadily up the business ladder. He switched to television in the '70s, and by 1981 he had found financial success as partner and general manager of KBVO in Austin.

In 1985, the station became one of the original affiliates of the fledgling Fox network. It grew in value and stature over the following decade, and on Oct. 3, 1994, a year after his wife's death, Beard sold his share of the station for a small fortune.

On Feb. 18, 1995, Celeste and Steven were married at the Austin Country Club.

Their honeymoon passion involved a penis-stiffening drug injection that was administered by Celeste. She found the needles and medication unromantic and "kind of traumatizing," as she put it.

She would later say that the couple had sexual intercourse just twice: on the day she moved in with him, and on the day they were married.

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice

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