A Closer Look at the True Crime Story of Kristine Beard and Her Twin Daughters
Anybody familiar with true crime stories has heard of the black widow convicted of killing her millionaire husband and featured prominently on YouTube true crime channels and morbid documentaries such as Hailey Elizabeth, Southern Fried True Crime and Click Murder – yet how well are we aware of their personal histories? Here’s an intimate look at their twin daughters who helped bring her case forward in court.
Celeste Johnson was a widowed single mother raising two young daughters when she met and married Steve Beard, an older real estate developer over 35 years her senior in Austin, Texas. At first she thought they’d lead an idyllic life together but soon discovered she only cared about his money – eventually growing increasingly disenchanted when Celeste began spending it without telling him about her financial situation – before eventually filing for divorce which would have left him without anything for himself or Celeste to keep.
In October of 1999, someone broke into their home and shot Beard in the stomach, though he managed to survive initially before succumbing to complications related to wound and infection. Police quickly identified Johnson as being responsible – she had a longstanding history of domestic violence and mental illness and had been hospitalized numerous times due to both conditions in her past; during her trial both of her daughters testified against her saying they believe Johnson married their late husband for money alone.
Tracey Tarlton, Johnson’s close friend and testifier, informed the jury of a sexual relationship between them and claimed she saw Johnson drug Steven Beard’s food and drink so she could sneak out later at night for dates with Steven Beard. Johnson’s defense attorney Dick DeGuerin contended that Tarlton had no link with Beard’s killing; instead she had simply fired in self-defense against Beard.
However, Johnson was undone by his twin daughters’ testimonies at trial. According to them, her wife would talk about how disgusting he was and that she only married him for his money; furthermore they testified that their mother feared losing it if she divorced Steve or was found innocent of murder charges – information used by DeGuerin against Johnson as proof they knew they’d get more if their mother was found guilty.