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Lewis guilty of capital murder, kidnapping

By Brandon Riddle

This article was originally published January 15, 2016 at 4:04 p.m. Updated January 15, 2016 at 6:09 p.m.


Convicted murderer Arron Lewis is transported from Pulaski County Courthouse after he was found guilty for capital murder and kidnapping in the death of Beverly Carter on Jan. 15, 2016.

Arron Lewis verdict reaction

The family of slain real estate agent Beverly Carter and prosecutors react Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, after Arron Lewis was found guilty of capital murder and kidnapping in Carter's death. (By Jaime Dunaway)
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Carl Carter Jr., Beverly Carter's son, speaks with reporters after guilty verdict was announced for Arron Lewis in Beverly Carter's death.

Chief deputy prosecutor John Johnson speaks after verdict is announced.

Defense attorney Bill James reacts after the jury found Arron Lewis guilty in the slaying of Realtor Beverly Carter.

Arron Lewis has been found guilty of capital murder and kidnapping in the death of Realtor Beverly Carter.

The jury of 12 — three men and nine women — returned with the unanimous verdict after about an hour of deliberations. Lewis was then sentenced to life in prison without parole on the capital murder charge. He was sentenced to life on the kidnapping charge. Both sentences are to be served consecutively.

Jurors began deliberating about 3 p.m. Friday after the prosecution provided the closing statement in the case.

Carter's body was found buried in a shallow grave behind an Argos concrete plant in Cabot in September 2014, four days after she had went missing while on a trip to show a house in Scott.

The verdict was read aloud by the foreman to the court before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright about 4 p.m.

After the verdict, Beverly Carter's son Carl Carter Jr. spoke on the stand in tears as he described his mother, referencing her being a grandmother and "champion" as a young parent at 16.

Family and friends of the Carter family embraced as court adjourned, at times sobbing.

"The only thing that Beverly Carter did that day was go to work. That's all she did," he told reporters outside the courtroom. That statement has been echoed throughout the trial.

His wife, Kim Carter, who was standing next to him, said that the mission all along has been to focus on her mother-in-law and not Lewis.

"We sought out for justice, and we got it today," she said.

Defense attorney Bill James said his team did the best it could to present a case for its client.

"I feel that we got a fair trial," he said, though added his disagreements over "issues" during the trial such as "marital privilege."

Lewis has 30 days to appeal his conviction.

Before the case was handed over to the jury for deliberation, the defense also presented its case Friday. Beverly Carter's widower, Carl Carter Sr., and Lewis testified on the stand.

During his testimony Friday, Lewis was questioned on his narrative posted to Facebook of the circumstances of Beverly Carter's death. During cross-examination, Lewis was questioned by the prosecution on details he could not recall as the state sought to find flaws in Lewis' account.

Lewis was on the stand for for much of the morning. After a lunch break, his testimony continued for about 10 additional minutes. The defense then rested its case, signaling closing remarks in the trial.

Carl Carter Sr. testified Friday morning that he and his wife had marital issues in the past, though denied that their relationship was in a bad place at the time of her death.

The prosecution ended its case Thursday after two days of testimony from 19 witnesses, including Lewis' estranged wife Crystal Lowery, Carl Carter Jr. and a number of investigators.

Lowery pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder and kidnapping for her involvement in the case. Her plea agreement stipulated that she testify against Lewis during his trial.

In Friday's closing arguments, the prosecution asserted its case that Carter's death was caused by suffocation after green duct tape was wrapped around her face. The defense asserted its view that Carter died as a result of being smothered in an alleged sexual act with Lowery.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


Comments on: Lewis guilty of capital murder, kidnapping

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 total comments

PopMom says... January 15, 2016 at 4:14 p.m.

God bless the Carter family. We've all had marital issues. That is part of marriage. We are all praying for you in your time of grief.

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Felina says... January 15, 2016 at 4:15 p.m.

Thank goodness this nightmare of a trial is over! Hope he never sees the light of day.

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railtoler says... January 15, 2016 at 4:33 p.m.

Good work by law enforcement and justice system! Torture and Murder! Sometimes these animals actually escape.

Saving Mrs. Carter would have been a better result, but those of us of faith knows she is with God now. Bless her family and friends!!!!

( | suggest removal ) says... January 15, 2016 at 4:42 p.m.

Short and sweet, the way it should be.

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itryed says... January 15, 2016 at 4:42 p.m.

So far, great posts

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gatorgirl623 says... January 15, 2016 at 4:58 p.m.

Thank goodness the jury saw through all the mess that tried to make Mrs. Carter look bad. Problems or not, she did not deserve to have her life taken!

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Redlab says... January 15, 2016 at 7:33 p.m.

Thankfully there was a smart jury who saw through the BS of the defense attorney and gave the only verdict that was correct guilty!! My heart goes out to the Carter family and trying to smear the victim and then the husband with their marital problem is totally inappropriate and inexcusable! I just don't know how defense attorneys can sleep at night or live with themselves with the knowledge of they are defending and lying about circumstances especially which is prevalent in this case.

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RBBrittain says... January 15, 2016 at 11:31 p.m.

@Rediab: Bill James did the best he could with what was a tough defense case to begin with; it was actually Lewis himself who hurt Carter's reputation by coming up with the sexual-encounter story. Remember, defending the undefendable is a defense attorney's job; recall the quote attributed to Sir Thomas More in a comment earlier this week that a defense attorney had a duty to defend even the Devil himself (though it's unclear if that's an actual More quote or taken from A Man for All Seasons; I remember that line from the Oscar-winning 1966 movie version). Otherwise, I agree with you; the jury saw right thru that story and quickly came up with the correct verdict.

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RaylanGivens says... January 16, 2016 at 11:57 a.m.

You have to be a fantastic liar to be a good defense attorney unfortunately

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