HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS INCIDENT? DID YOU HEAR IT ON TV OR DID SHE CALL YOU?
I'm in California. In 1998 we moved to Texas so we were there when Steven was shot in October of 1999. Tracey Tarlton entered their house in the morning and shot Steven in the stomach. We didn't leave Texas until March of 2000.
I was married for 22 years and had four adoptive children. The family was very dysfunctional and I said, "We have to break this up." Celeste was 17, married, had twins, and was more or less on her own. The older boy was living with friends and that left the two younger children. My ex-husband was responsible for the younger boy and I took the younger girl. There were unresolved issues with all the children.
Celeste became estranged and moved out of the California area. So I did not hear from her until she moved to Texas. Oh, she called a few times but it was short and to the point.
My presence in Texas brought about things from her childhood. These thoughts were disrupting her life. Her daughters had taken on the role of protecting their mother from me. We intended to stay. We built a house but the shunning changed our minds. We sent flowers to Steven's funeral but I didn't know my place at that time. Celeste called me before I left and she was shocked to hear we were leaving.
I had to let things develop and let Celeste come back to me. She sent me a letter from jail in 2002 and it is in "Wounded Bird." I know when Celeste was at Timberlawn, Celeste wrote about me. They said for now, "We won't deal with your mother." They had to find the triggers that were causing her to be depressed.
These things happen when kids are small. They aren't intellectually able to understand. They become scared and hide. They won't talk about it. If the father suggests that he will kill the mother then they definitely will not talk about it. That is an adult thing and even some adults won't talk. I took them to psychologists but they would never talk.
I want to say in "Trial by Perjury" I mention the twins. In 1999, February 6th, the twins were 18 years old. In 2000 they were 19 years old. They taped their mother cussing them out. The twins were taking money out of her account. 2003 which was the trial, they were 22. We are not talking about young girls. We're not talking about 17 year olds or 16 or 13 or 14 year olds. They were adults. They were responsible for their actions.
I didn't do much for Celeste at that time until 2006 when her appeal was rejected. Celeste sent me information and copies of her appeal. A writ of habeas corpus was written and I got copies. Then she sent me a copy of the transcripts. I began to write and help her at that time.
I had Celeste's letters from 1996 to 2008 so I put them together into a book called "Wounded Bird: Includes Letters from Gatesville Prison." In 2009 I added letters, because June 1, 2009, Celeste was time-barred. Her habeas corpus was four days late to the Superior Court in Austin. Texas. They time-barred her for the rest of her life sentence. It means that Celeste could not submit any more legal papers unless she has new evidence.
We weren't making much headway with "Wounded Bird." Celeste wrote a cookbook with five other inmates with items they bought in the commissary. I sent it to Hans Sherrer at Justice Denied. In fact we got a book from him called "Freeing the Innocent: How We Did it" by Michael and Becky Pardue. He was in prison for 25 or more years and was innocent. They kept writing and writing and it inspired us to write. Hans put the cookbook together and it's called "From the Big House to Your House." They donated the proceeds to the Justice Institute to help innocent people.
Since then Celeste wrote a new cookbook by herself and we just sent it to Hans Sherrer. It's called "High Fence Foodie." I hope it will be out in the fall. So that has been our modus operandi for the last few years.
Celeste has been in prison for something she didn't do and I have been writing for eight years. That's been my life.
ON THE RADIO TONIGHT WHAT POINT OR WHAT VIEW DO YOU WANT THIS AUDIENCE TO LOOK AT?
Celeste needs a lawyer. The Medical Examiner's credentials are questionable. Steven was a very sick man. There were three doctors, well there were more than one doctor that testified about his death but this one doctor (M.E.) said it was capital murder. Steven came into the hospital with a heart problem, he got sepsis, then blood clots, and he died. All these things together you would get blood clots. The gunshot wound was healed. It wasn't capital murder. He died a natural death.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWINS AND THEIR MOTHER?
The twins got a Protection Order against their mother before the trials began. They said, "They were afraid of her." They told the judge that Celeste beat them with a meat tenderizer when they were young. You know how sometimes you swat children with a spoon. Oh, big deal but do they have a police report where their mother beat them up. There was one Incident where Celeste was trying to stab herself at a beauty salon because people were saying that she hurt Steven or wanted him dead. Kristina got scratched or something like that - I don't know I wasn't there.
Please listen to the original conversation to clarify every point remembered or inadvertently omitted by 'paraphrasing.'
It is my opinion every piece of evidence numbered should be reviewed by the jury and given a decision on its truthfulness. Truthful evidence should out-weigh and line-up against the lies for the final verdict. We are not picking winners and losers. We are sending innocent people to life in prison
THEY WERE YOUNG WOMEN! That's right!
DID THEY TESTIFY TO SOMETHING BAD ABOUT THEIR MOTHER?
I know it's very difficult being around mothers that are sick especially when it's a mental sickness. My mother had a drinking problem and was depressed but she was MY MOTHER. No matter what happens that's your mother. That's your father. You can't divorce yourself from them. She was part of me and I was part of her.
Telephones were a big issue in the trial. They actually taped their mother's phone calls. Her lawyer had an expert testify that words were missing off a taped call. It was his opinion.
There was a telephone that had the last four digits 0339 and it was a house phone. They had no bill records for ATT. Of course they didn't have any bill records, they were house phones. Another 8797 last four digits was a house phone in Kristina's bedroom. Cell phones are billed by time used and house phones are bill differently. They taped a message on 8797 and took it to a lawyer proving Tarlton was calling the house. That was one of the little thing testified about but it was important because testimony was presented that secret telephones were used so no bill records suggested it was true.
I UNDERSTAND THE PERSON THAT SHOT HIM IS FREE NOW. IS THAT TRUE? CELESTE DIDN'T PULL THE TRIGGER, SO HOW IS IT THAT SHE IS IN PRISON?
They had a way to do that. It's called 'remuneration.' Steven was a wealthy man and they said Celeste asked Tarlton to shoot him to get the wealth. That was a bogus claim because the bulk of Steven's fortune was put into a trust, an irrevocable trust. The trust owned all the wealth and Celeste was to get the income off of it.
You can go to amazon.com and type in "Trial by Perjury" on the go-line. They let you read two chapters for free but the rest of the chapters are important. I gave you actual testimony and the reference to find it in the transcripts.
One chapter talks about how Celeste broke her leg. She was in a cell by herself separated from Tarlton who was in the same jail. Celeste went to court with a broken leg that wasn't completely healed. She was taking pain pills and another medicine to keep her calm. She wasn't fully aware of the trial. It was a detriment because she wasn't fully competent to be tried for capital murder with a possibility of life in prison.
ANY PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO THANK?
Many people said that Dick DeGuerin was a bad attorney. He asked the question. It's all there in the transcripts. Citizens have a responsibility to listen to both sides. The jury listened to sensational things and was bored through records and other stuff. The jury should deliberate when they go back there, ask questions, look at the records, and weight the defense's and prosecution's arguments equally. Don't just go along.
--------------------------End of paraphrasing---------------------------
Celeste is a chef in commissary foods
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER?
I love my daughter. Oh, sure she did things but I hoped she would find the Lord, read her Bible, and grow. That's the way things are done. She was at Timberlawn from March 1999 until the end of June. You have to give people a chance to develop. I would have told Talton to forget it and then walk away. Celeste walked away and let Steven tell her.
Rob Boyd interviews Nancy Hall on
THE STREETS DON'T LOVE YOU BACK
June 06, 2014
My name is Nancy Hall, mother of Celeste Beard Johnson. In 2003 Celeste was convicted of capital murder and injury to an elderly person which was her then husband, Steven Beard. She was sentenced to two life sentences to run concurrently with 40 straight years before qualifying for parole.
SO CELESTE DOESN'T GET THE MONEY IN PRISON?
That's right. The money was broke up amongst the 5 children. Celeste had Steven adopt the twins.
REALLY! That's right!
THEY PUT THEIR MAMA ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK TO GET THE MONEY?
People thought it was wrong to keep the money from Steven's children. They were the rightful heirs. Well two wrongs do not make it right? Steven earned the money. He hired the attorney to draw up the trust like he wanted. They said Celeste beguiled Steven. They filed a civil law suit to break the trust and that judge threw it out because Steven signed, putting the second phase of the shopping center into the trust while he was in the hospital.