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Where is Celeste Beard now and what did she do? ABC's Who Do You Believe? explores her husband's murder

Celeste Beard Johnson (Image via Channel 4)
Celeste Beard Johnson (Image via Channel 4)
Bhavya Kamra

This week's episode of ABC's Who do you Believe? featured Celeste Beard, the accused murderer of Steven Beard, giving her account of the story. The incident shook Austin, when Celeste Beard Johnson's alleged partner, Tracey Tarlton, shot Steven while he was sleeping in his mansion on October 2, 1999. He later died in January 2000 of a blood clot.

According to tonight's episode of Who do you Believe? Celeste was convicted of capital murder in 2003 and given a life sentence. Celeste is currently in prison in Lane Murray and will be eligible for parole on April 1, 2042. Tarlton received only 20 years of prison time, reduced by ten years for testifying against Celeste in court, and is currently out of prison on parole.

Who do you Believe? puts viewers in the position of an armchair detective by putting forward different accounts of the same true crime by the accused and the accuser. Who do you believe? is currently running its first season.


What did Celeste Beard do? Does the convicted killer appear on Who do you Believe? episode

Tonight's episode of Who do you Believe? showed the audience two different versions of the 1999 Steven Beard murder case, given by his ex-wife Celeste Beard Johnson, who was convicted for his murder, and Celeste's ex-lover Tracey Tarlton, who was also convicted of his murder.

Who do you Believe? Episode 3 showed the gruesome tale that led up to the murder and what Celeste's daughters saw. Celeste met Steven in 1997 when she was 32 and worked as a waitress at the Austin Country Club.

Steven was a millionaire and offered her and her twin daughters every bit of materialistic happiness from previous marriages. He had a net worth of more than 10 million dollars. One of his neighbors, Robert Dennison, said,

"They didn’t have anything in common, Except his money."

Celeste had previously been married three times, and her twin daughters described their relationship with her as "troubled" and stated that she often neglected them. Steven's kids, Paul, Becky, and Steven III, were also unhappy with the relationship.

Steven yearned for companionship after his ex-wife Elina's death, with whom he was happily married for 45 years, in 1993. The couple married the same year and started their marital bliss, short-lived as Steven's banker informed him that his wife was taking Elise's jewelry out of the bank lockers; he immediately filed for divorce.

But the couple did eventually work it out, and Steven withdrew the divorce petition. He also included the twin daughters in his will and his three children from his previous marriage.

Celeste was diagnosed with depression in 1999 and had to be admitted to St. David's Clinic, where she met Tracey, a bookstore manager. Tracey reportedly told her lawyers that the two fell in love and got into a relationship.

Celeste's lawyer, however, told the court that Tracey had allegedly become obsessed with Celeste.

Her daughters also appeared on Who do you Believe? tonight.

Prosecutors told the court that Celeste allegedly convinced Tracey that her husband was abusing her emotionally and that she was thinking about committing suicide. On October 2, 1999, Tracey shot Steven in the stomach in his mansion, just eight months after she met Celeste.

Celeste claimed that she was sleeping in another part of the home when the incident occurred. Police found gun shelling at the crime scene. Jennifer, Celeste's daughter herself, told police about her mother's close relationship with Tracey, whose gun matched the shelling case.

Even though Steven had recovered completely and was discharged from the hospital, he died of a blood clot caused by the bullet on January 22, 2000.

After Steven's death, Celeste hardly played the role of a grieving widow and reportedly went to Mardi Gras sometime after her husband's death. Five months after his death, Celeste married 41-year-old Cole Johnson. By now, everyone, including their daughters, was suspicious of her involvement in the crime.

Tracey reportedly did not reveal anything about the case until she read that Celeste had married another man in the newspaper.

She revealed that Celeste planned to kill her husband as he was reportedly emotionally abusing her. In court, she also said that Celeste had told her that Steven was the only person standing between their relationship.

The court charged her with murder, and while Tracey is out in the world right now, Celeste is in jail, waiting for the time when she will be applicable for parole. She still maintains her innocence in the case.

For more Who do you Believe? episodes, tune onto ABC on Tuesdays at 10.00 pm ET.


Edited by Suchitra

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