Celeste Beard refers to her Twin Daughters as the Menendez Sisters — Where are they now?
True crime has definitely reached a place where finding a new way to approach it is fairly difficult. But ABC’s Who Do You Believe? has managed to do just that. Each case is divided up into two episodes — one episode is comprised of the accused individual telling their side of the story, while the second episode is from the victim‘s perspective.
New information is revealed by each, and both parties are shown footage from the other side. The format addresses the true crime community’s passion for interaction, speculation, and armchair detective work (which, let’s face it, isn’t always a good idea). Celeste Beard’s story was told in a recent episode of the popular ABC show, which features an interview with Beard and her twin daughters, who testified against their mother when she was on trial for murdering their stepfather. Where are her daughters now?
Where are Celeste Beard’s daughters now?
In a recent episode of Who Do You Believe?, Jennifer and Kristina Beard finally light on the events of nearly 25 years ago as they saw them. For two people who have had a dark story follow them for more than two decades, they’re calm and measured while rehashing this tragic tale. Sadly, this would not be the last time violence would find the Beard twins.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that in October 2017, a man dressed as Santa Claus for a Halloween party he helped throw, shot, and killed a partygoer. Jennifer Beard was living with the shooter at the time, and also suffered multiple injuries. Her twin sister, Kristina Beard (now Fritz), testified that Jennifer “needed 10 surgeries to recover from two wounds to the stomach.”
As of January 2019, Kristina testified that Jennifer was unable to work due to her injuries. “If I couldn’t help her out, she’d be homeless,” Kristina said.
Now they’re revealing more details about their mother, Celeste Beard, who’s currently serving a mandatory life sentence at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville.
What happened in the Steve Beard murder case?
Celeste was 32 years old when she married Steve Beard. He was incredibly wealthy and, at 70, was significantly older than Celeste. However, he promised to adopt her then-15-year-old daughters, which he did right before their 18th birthday. According to Oxygen, Celeste loved spending Steve’s money at an alarming rate. “She bought herself cars and jewelry, sometimes spending between $15,000 and $30,000 on daily shopping sprees.”
Four years after they were married, Steve would be shot in their home by someone wielding a 20-gauge shotgun. Despite the fact that he pulled through the surgery, Steve would later die from an infection related to the gunshot wound. When authorities spoke with Jennifer and Kristina, they could only think of one suspect: Tracey Tarlton.
“She was Celeste’s friend, and they hung out quite a bit,” Jennifer said. “They met at a mental hospital.”
That part was true. Celeste suffered from depression and met Tracey, who was an alcoholic, while they were both being treated. Tracey claims they entered into a romantic relationship, while Celeste maintains they were always just friends and Tracey was confused.
Although Tracey would eventually confess to shooting Steve, she quickly informed authorities that Celeste had asked her to do it. The prosecution focused heavily on the alleged relationship between Celeste and Tracey. Jennifer and Kristina testified that they once walked in on Celeste and Tracey kissing. They both believed Tracey and their mother were more than just friends.
“It makes me sick,” Celeste told Oxygen. “You always hear blood is thicker than water. Not in my case. I want to call them the Menendez sisters.”
Celeste’s defense team used money as a motivation for Kristina and Jennifer to lie during the trial. Evidently, they would both receive more money from Steve’s estate if their mother was behind bars.
As of the time of this writing, Jennifer Beard has not seen her mother since the trial. We don’t know if Kristina has reached out to her at all. But, of course, the big question is: What happened to Tracey Tarlton, the woman who admitted to shooting Steve Beard?
Where is Tracey Tarlton now?
When Steve Beard eventually died, things changed for Celeste Beard and Tracey Tarlton. According to People, “five months after Beard died, she [Celeste] married a carpenter named Cole Johnson.” Celeste had seemingly moved on from her husband’s murder. However, Celeste’s life was in Tarlton’s hands who “finally agreed to testify against her friend” in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.
It was Tarlton’s testimony that contributed to Celeste’s life sentence. While on the stand, Tarlton claimed Celeste was always flirting with her and revealed “Celeste had told her Beard was the only thing standing in the way of the women’s future together.” This empty promise directly contributed to Tarlton shooting Steve Beard.
KENS 5 News reported that Tarlton was paroled in August 2011 “after spending over a decade behind bars.” The transition out of prison and into freedom was tough but some folks in the city of San Antonio, Tex. tried to make it easy for her. A fundraiser was held in her honor.
To her credit, Tarlton is not proud of what she did and wants to move on with her life. “I don’t wake up one single day without feeling shame still held for what I did,” she told the outlet.
However, there is hope. “The people who know me and know my story have been very, very supportive of me, and I would not have been able to make it without these people,” she said.
Tarlton has kept to herself and has not participated in any of the shows about her story.