Celeste Beard had it all. A loving husband, a mansion, endless pots of cash… But her world was blown apart when her hubby was shot dead. Then Celeste was accused of his murder. But why would the happily married mum want him dead?
Steven Beard, was a TV tycoon and self made millionaire. He was the co-owner of a local TV station. He was rich. He was powerful… It was no surprise he caught the eye of a young waitress, Celeste. Beard was a member at the county club where she worked.
A mum to twin daughters, Celeste saw Beard as a ticket to a better life. She was 30 at the time, he was 67. But the age difference didn’t matter to Celeste.
The pair soon became a couple and in 1995 they tied the knot. Celeste enjoyed living the high life. She lived in Beard’s huge mansion, wore expensive clothes, dined in fancy restaurants, travelled the world…It was a far cry from her days living on a waitress’ salary.
Then in October 1999, Beard was shot in the stomach while he slept at his home in Texas. While he fought for his life in hospital, Celeste played the distraught wife.
Within hours of the shooting, police were given a tip off for the main suspect. Tracy Tarlton was a friend of Celeste’s. It was believed she and Celeste had had a romantic affair.
In January 2000, Beard died in hospital after complications with his gunshot wound. Tarlton was arrested but she remained silent on the murder…
Until months later, that July, she read in a local newspaper that Celeste had remarried. Realising that her relationship with Celeste was a sham, she decided to spill all the gory details.
She admitted she’d pulled the trigger on Beard but she claimed it was Celeste who’d ordered the killing. According to Tarlton, Celeste organised the time, place and details for the killing.
She claimed Celeste had spun her a story about Beard being abusive and persuaded her to shoot him because that was the only way the two women could be together.
In 2002, Celeste was arrested. She denied the claims against her and her defense argued Talton was lying. They claimed she was obsessed with Celeste and wouldn’t leave her alone when Beard ordered the two women to stop seeing each other.
Prosecutors painted a different story though. They claimed Celeste had only married Beard for his money and wanted him dead because he’d grown tired of her extravagant spending and was allegedly considering a divorce.
Manipulating her friend into killing her husband was the perfect way for Celeste to get rid of him, without having to do the dirty deed herself.
In 2003 Celeste Beard was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment – her lavish lifestyle swapped for a bleak life behind bars.
Talton received a 20 year sentence for testifying against Celeste and was released on parole in 2011.