Fair Trial For

Celeste Beard Johnson

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"Even the mighty oak was yesterday's acorn that stood it's ground"


The Actual Cause of Death

      Steven Beard died of natural causes.  The Travis County Medical Examiner (M.E.) was adamant that Steven died of Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot or clots).  The autopsy showed Steven's gunshot wound as mostly healed.  Sepsis had developed in the hospital after Steven was re-admitted because his body began to break down.  The sepsis was not related to the gunshot wound.

      Bayardo (the State's M.E.) told the jury that it was a clot(s) and Steven "probably got the clot from inactivity after the shooting."  This was incorrect.  Steven's personal physician along with family and friends, all testified that Steven never walked anywhere.  Even on vacations,
Steven toured by limousine or he didn't go.  Bayardo Testimony 

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    Dr. Petty (the defense M.E. and Bayardo's mentor) testified about clot's in Steven's lungs.  He had several slides of old and new clots that Steven's body was riddled with.  Dr. Petty said that Steven suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (C.O.P.D.).  Dr. Petty also reviewed all of Steven's medical records from both before and after the shooting.  Even Steven's personal physician testified for the defense that Steven had suffered from pulmonary problems since the 1980's.  Bayardo didn't review any of Steven's medical records because
he did not feel that they were necessary or needed in determining the cause of death. Bayardo had been previously reprimanded for this in other unrelated cases.  A medical examiner is not to opine who did what- they are to remain neutral.  Dr. Petty Testimony 


News Articles Regarding Dr. Bayardo's Office

    Even prior to the shooting, Steven sat all of the time.  Steven never walked anywhere because of his C.O.P.D.  Steven was obese because his blood clots kept him sedentary.  Steven was also a confirmed alcoholic.  Alcohol became Steven's blood thinner.  Steven could sleep better at night by thinning out his blood clots with alcohol.  Weeks before the shooting on September 12 and 15, 1999, Steven was found on the floor and slumped over a table (Celeste called 911 summoning help both times). 
   Celeste insisted that he be admitted into the hospital because of her concern for his well-being.  These two incidents mean that Steven survived two moving blood clots just weeks before the shooting.

    C.O.P.D. is very hard for a physician to diagnose while the patient is alive, but not after an autopsy.  It was this disease that sent Steven home from HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital after the shooting because his gunshot wound was almost completely healed.  A blood clot in
Steven's leg made it difficult for Steven to walk.  It was documented in his medical records that he was walking at the beginning of his rehabilitation, but then toward the end, he refused to walk. 
   HealthSouth sent him home because Medicare won't pay if there is no progress.  Celeste tried to encourage him to walk.  He told her that his legs hurt and he couldn't move them.  HealthSouth said Steven was lazy and that once he was home, he would have no choice but to move around.  When a person's blood is not circulating, the feet and legs feel like lead. 

    Steven was discharged by HealthSouth less than 24 hours before Celeste forced Brackenridge Hospital to re-admit him because he was not ambulatory and he was in debilitating pain.  Dr. Satterwhite (the Infectious Disease Specialist for the defense) told the jurors about the blood clots ready to obstruct Steven's lungs.  If the blood clots passed to a safe spot where vital passageways were not obstructed, then Steven lived.  The clot stuck because it was too large or sticky, causing Steven's death.  Steven was always going to die from Pulmonary Embolism.  It was the realistic chain of events for Steven's body. Steven's lungs proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he could have dropped dead at any time because of his C.O.P.D.  It was the natural condition of Steven's body and nothing to do with the shooting.  Every professional knew this fact.  Dr. Satterwhite Testimony


     It is the jury's mistake that they did not take these facts and apply them correctly.  The juror's just wanted to go home.  One juror said it all, "Oh, God, let's just get this damned thing over with!" 


(If you want a quick overview, go to the end of The Trial section and click on the closing arguments of Celeste's Counsel.)