- Category : 1924-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (12,59)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Duality 2
American retired Fox Broadcasting Company executive and self-made multi-millionaire, whose wife Celeste Johnson (born 13 February 1963) persuaded a friend to murder him.
Beard and Johnson married on 18 February 1995, with Beard's family and friends suspicious that Johnson had married him for his money.
On 2 October 1999, Beard was shot in the stomach while he was asleep, at his home near Jollyville, Texas. The wound became infected, and he died on 22 January 2000. Local police tied the shooting to Johnson's friend, Tracey Tarlton. The women had met in Saint David’s Pavilion, a mental-health facility, after Johnson threatened to commit suicide when she and Beard began fighting over her lavish spending. Tarlton, arrested at home six days after the shooting, was charged with assault. The police began to hear that Johnson had spoken negatively about Beard. She refused to let them interview him while he was hospitalized; her behaviour was oddly casual after his death, and she had slept in a different room the night he was shot.
Despite mounting suspicion of Johnson and Tarlton's romantic feelings for her, Tarlton remained silent until July 2000, when she read in a local newspaper that Johnson had remarried 6 months after Beard’s death. Realizing that their relationship was a sham and none of what Johnson told her about her marriage was true, Tarlton told police shortly before her murder trial began in March 2002 that Johnson had persuaded her to shoot Beard; Johnson claimed that Beard had emotionally abused her to the point of suicide, and getting rid of him was the only way the women could be together.
Based on Tarlton's statement, Johnson was arrested on 28 March 2002. At the trial, prosecutors charged that she had married Beard for his money and wanted him dead because he had tired of her extravagant spending and was considering divorce.
In 2003 Johnson was convicted of capital murder, receiving a mandatory life sentence. She will be eligible for parole on 1 April 2042. Johnson continues to maintain her innocence and as of 2017, is imprisoned at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Murray Unit in Gatesville, Texas.
Tarlton received a 20-year sentence in exchange for testifying against Johnson, and was released on parole in August 2011 and lives in San Antonio, Texas.