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Woman gets 30 years in Realtor's death

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published July 7, 2015 at 9:31 a.m. Updated July 7, 2015 at 10:32 a.m.


Crystal Lowery, 42 (left), pleaded guilty Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in the kidnapping and killing Little Rock real estate agent Beverly Carter, in which her estranged husband, 35-year-old Arron Lewis (right), is also accused.

Lowery pleads guilty, 'sorry' that Carter died

The woman charged in the killing and kidnapping of a Pulaski County real estate agent pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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A woman arrested in the kidnapping and killing of a Pulaski County real estate agent pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Crystal Lowery, the estranged wife of co-defendant Arron Lewis, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright.

Lewis and Lowery were each charged with capital murder in the killing of Realtor Beverly Carter, whose body was found in a shallow grave in northern Pulaski County days after she disappeared after going to show a home in Scott.

The charge was reduced to first-degree murder just before Lowery entered the plea. She will be required to truthfully testify at Lewis' trial, which is set for January.

Lowery didn't answer several questions from reporters as she was led from the hearing, except when asked whether she was sorry.

"Yes, I'm sorry for her death," she said.

A large group of Carter's family, friends and coworkers attended the hearing, but they left without commenting. Chief deputy prosecutor John Johnson called it a good plea deal for the state, adding it will allow Carter's family and friends to begin seeking closure.

"It's always good when you have someone who is a participant in the crime who can help provide additional information and perspective for the jury, something other than just the investigative part of the case," he said, noting that the family had approved the deal: "This is half the case for them that is now down the road. That's a large part of a negotiated plea in a lot of instances is helping the family begin the process of closure and getting past what a horrible thing has happened to the family."

Johnson in court said that investigators developed Lowery and Lewis as suspects after finding records showing communication between Carter's phone and Lowery's. Lewis was followed and he had in his possession Carter's phone, Johnson said.

He said that "further investigation" of the cellphone records showed "it was apparent that Crystal Lowery participated in the plan and kidnapping of Ms. Beverly Carter, which resulted in her death."

Lowery was then asked whether Johnson's description of the case was true. She acknowledged it was.

Johnson called the case against Lewis "strong." He said the state hadn't made any offer for a plea deal for him and that Lewis hasn't asked for one.

Lewis had originally sought to represent himself at trial, but last month asked for an attorney because he said being in jail made it difficult for him to prepare his case. Little Rock defense attorney Bill James was appointed to represent him.

Check back for updates and see Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Comments on: Woman gets 30 years in Realtor's death

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 total comments

BillRob72116 says... July 7, 2015 at 9:46 a.m.

That's good! She'll have to serve 21 years or 70% of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole and, since she pled guilty, there's no appeal.

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DEE672 says... July 7, 2015 at 9:48 a.m.

She got off cheap since she will likely be out in 10 yrs. I don't much like plea deals and this one is not all that great, but they want a case easier to win against the husband. There is not much justice here in my opinion.

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LR1955 says... July 7, 2015 at 10:39 a.m.

She was under his control and most likely not a willing participant. Her husb is an abomination of a human, can not be rehab'd, and I for one don't want to put him up in the state pokey for 40-50 years. I hope the State does not offer a deal, I hope he's found guilty, and I hope Asa buys up a big bottle of pest killer for this roach's lethal injection.

Better yet, hall him to CA, tie a bag of tuna guts to him, and troll him up the coast, then televise next year on Shark Week!

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bosoxfan says... July 7, 2015 at 10:47 a.m.

Wonder why the guy gets appointed one of the most well known criminal defense attorneys in the state - instead of a public defender? I guess because it's a high profile capital murder case. Doesn't seem right to me.

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HarleyOwner says... July 7, 2015 at 10:53 a.m.

I always thought the prosecutor offered a plea deal when they felt like they didn't have a strong enough case to get a conviction. Surely this wasn't the case this time.

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Capitalist12 says... July 7, 2015 at 12:47 p.m.

When the co-defendant is female, expect the sentence to much less. Male murderers nearly always get more time. Women often get away scot free from criminal charges, especially when their victims are children. Remember Andrea Yates murdered her 5 boys one at a time and got off in the second trial. She served no time in prison, despite her admission and their being no doubt that she did it. Her defense was she had the blues from giving birth recently, as though that is a reason to murder your children.
I do think that he is the reason this crime occurred, however. Nevertheless, men have gone to prison for life for kidnapping and first degree murder, and in some cases executed.

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Salinelawyer says... July 7, 2015 at 8:36 p.m.

Bill James or other private attorneys get appointed when there is some sort of conflict with the public defender office. Public defenders try a lot of the cases in this state and are good attorneys. I don't like the implication that any defendant gets a better attorney just because it's a private attorney. Murder 1st is a 70% crime in Arkansas. She must serve 70% (21years) before she is eligible for parole.

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Packman says... July 7, 2015 at 8:50 p.m.

And libs will oppose the death penalty for her slimeball husband but not the wanton killing of unborn children. Such is the wisdom of liberalism.

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RBBrittain says... July 7, 2015 at 11:04 p.m.

She got a plea bargain because they need her testimony to make sure her husband ("estranged" does NOT necessarily mean divorced) is put away, and also because IIRC mere accomplice liability is no longer enough for a full capital murder conviction. (Reading between the lines it seems she helped plan it as a kidnapping, enough to be an accomplice; her husband escalated it to murder.) As for the husband, though he's not QUITE a cop killer, just like cops you just don't go killing real estate agents (Realtors or otherwise) in the line of duty; he deserves as much Raid as the state can legally give him. ;)

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