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Celeste Beard Johnson
Conviction(s) Murder and conspiracy to commit murder
Penalty Life in prison
Status Incarcerated
Occupation Inmate

Celeste Beard Johnson, (born in 1963) is a convicted American murderess currently serving a life sentence in Texas.



One of the reasons cited by the prosecution for the murder was that Steven Beard, a wealthy former television executive, had grown tired of paying for Celeste's extravagant lifestyle.[1] Steven 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 had found financial success as a 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 October 3, 1994, a year after his first wife's death, Beard sold his share of the station for a small fortune.[2]

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


Beard ordered her lesbian lover, Tracey Tarlton, to shoot her husband Steven Beard,[3] a retired Fox network television executive and self-made multi-millionaire. The event took place on October 2, 1999. [4] Steven died in a hospital on January 21, 2000 as a result of the gunshots. Beard's accountant would later reveal that Celeste spent $321,000 during October and November 1999, followed by an additional $249,000 by December 10, and another $100,000 in the six weeks ending March 31, 2000. According to the prosecution Celeste only married Steven Beard for his money. In 2003 Celeste and Tracey were sentenced. Celeste received a mandatory life sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2043,[5] serving at least 40 years for the crime. Tracey was released in early 2009 for her part in the crime[citation needed].


The case has been covered in a one-hour show of Dominick Dunne's investigative programme, Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice.

The crime series American Justice played an episode on the case "For Love Or Money".

Celeste's case is profiled on the Oxygen Network's series Snapped which profiles female criminals and murderers.

Author Suzy Spencer wrote the book "The Fortune Hunter" covering the case of Celeste Beard.[6]

The CI network also covered the case in an hour-long show.[4]

The Law & Order episode 'Obsession' from Season 15 was ripped from the headlines of this case.


External links



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