Celeste Johnson married a multi-millionaire, but later found a woman lover, who murdered her husband, while Bernice Ahrens became involved in an appalling case of torture and murder.
After three failed marriages, Celeste Johnson married multi-millionaire Steven Beard in Austin, Texas in 1995. Despite the 38-year age difference, the couple seemed like the perfect match. But soon their relationship began to deteriorate.
In 1999, after a confrontation over money, Celeste threatened suicide and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. During her stay, she befriended a fellow patient, Tracey Tarlton. The two women allegedly began an affair and Celeste asked Tracey to kill her aging husband.
On the night of 2nd October 1999, police received a 911 call from the Beard residence. Steven Beard had been shot and eventually died from complications while recovering from his wounds. Evidence led investigators to Tracey Tarlton, who told prosecutors that Celeste had convinced her to shoot Steven.
Celeste was arrested, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, although she maintains she had nothing to do the shooting.
In 1995, 55 year old Bernice Ahrens was a lonely widow living in Houston, Texas with her two adult children, Hope and Craig. Through her job, she met 44 year old Suzanne Basso, and over the next few years, the two became friends.
In 1998, authorities say Suzanne met a 59 year old mentally impaired man named Buddy Musso while visiting relatives in New Jersey. She convinced Buddy to move to Texas so they could be married, but the marriage never happened. Instead, as soon as Buddy arrived, Suzanne began abusing him and laying claim to his finances.
In August of that year, Suzanne moved Buddy and her son James into the Ahrens’ apartment. What happened next was what police called one of the worst cases of torture they had ever seen.
According to testimony, over the next five days, Suzanne ordered the group - which included Bernice, Craig, Hope, Hope’s fiancé, and Suzanne’s son - to torture Buddy. He was beaten, burned and finally killed.
Bernice confessed to police she did participate in some of the abuse, but said that Suzanne was the ringleader, commanding everyone at gunpoint. Suzanne was found guilty and sentenced to death; at this time, no date has been set for her execution. Bernice was convicted of murder and received a sentence of 80 years.