Arron Lewis found guilty in Beverly Carter murder trial
PULASKI COUNTY (KATV) —
Arron Lewis found guilty
KATV - Carter Courthouse Reaction
Team Coverage 6 pm: Arron Lewis guilty in Beverly Carter trial
Beverly Carter family reacts to case going to jury
After deliberating for a little less than an hour, a jury has found defendant Arron Lewis guilty of capital murder and kidnapping in the Beverly Carter murder trial.
Lewis was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole on the capital murder charge, but the jury sentenced him to life in prison for the kidnapping charge. Those charges will be served consecutively.
The jury began deliberating the sentence for the kidnapping charge after Beverly Carter's son, Carl Jr., was the only person to give a victim impact statement.
At the request of the family, the prosecutor took the death penalty off the table.
Day four of the Beverly Carter murder trial began Friday with the defense presenting its case to the jury.
Defense Attorney Bill James represents Arron Lewis, accused of kidnapping and murdering realtor Beverly Carter.
The first witness called to testify Friday was Beverly's husband, Carl Carter, Sr.
Carl Carter, Sr., was questioned by the defense over past infidelity, domestic abuse, drinking, and money issues. Carter testified that in 2013, Beverly had sold $12 million in real estate. At the time of her death in September 2014, she had only sold $2 million. Carter testified Beverly had to skip a realty convention in Florida because of their money woes.
Carl Carter., Sr., testified that while he and his wife had their problems, "When one of us was down, the other one would be there for them. We had some of our best times." Carl Sr. admitted at one point, he told Beverly to leave if she wanted to leave.
Carter said it was hell while Beverly was missing, and that he tried his best to be honest with police about their problems and issues in hopes of finding his wife. He said they had made dinner plans the night she went missing, and they had both said they loved each other on the phone.
After Carter left the stand, the defense called Arron Lewis himself to testify. Lewis was first questioned about his criminal past. He said he did six years in a Louisiana prison for robbing a bank. When he was released, he "transported stolen cars." Lewis testified he also ran money scams. When he was 14, Lewis got in trouble for trespassing and stealing and was given an ultimatum from juvenile court. He joined the military, later being discharged by the Navy.
Lewis was then questioned about Beverly Carter. He told the court he was not present when she died. Defense Attorney James asked him why he would even plead guilty to capital murder if he didn't commit the crime. He replied that it was to shoulder the burden on himself to save his wife Crystal. He said he thought she had potential, as she was in nursing school. Lewis said he had already destroyed his own life, being a seven to eight-time felon. Lewis claimed that if there was a crime that happened within five feet of him, he's automatically guilty.
Lewis said detectives wouldn't believe the truth, so he gave them whatever answer they wanted. He said he never told anyone he caused Carter's death and has always maintained it was an accident.
Lewis talked about his marriage with Lowery, describing it as "rocky." Lewis said he wasn't working and was taking care of his stepdaughter, taking her to cheer competitions, making her lunch, and taking her to school. Lewis told the court he still loves Lowery "even now" and thinks she is trapped in this situation.
Lewis claimed Lowery told him about Beverly Carter and that she wanted to meet for sex. He talked about how they used the "TextMe" app to communicate, saying it was a good buffer for swingers who didn't want to give out their real phone number. Lewis went on to explain how the couple met up with Beverly Carter, sticking closely to the story he told in the 22-page affidavit that was read aloud in earlier court proceedings.
On cross examination, the prosecution combed through the entire affidavit, pointing out aspects that aren't consistent with his story and what the medical experts have been saying, specifically about how the duct tape was placed on Carter's body, why it was placed on her hands and face in a certain way.
The prosecution then asked Lewis about a recording on his phone. They say it was Beverly making a plea to her husband to pay the ransom. Lewis argues the voice on the recording was not Beverly, but was "100% computer-generated."
When court recessed for lunch. Beverly Carter's son Carl Carter, Jr., talked to reporters about the recording, saying it was absolutely his mother's voice. "I know my mom's voice. That's my mom," Carter said.
Shortly after court resumed from lunch, Arron Lewis left the stand and the defense rested its case. Instructions were read to the jury, then the prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments.
The case was given to the jury for deliberations just before 3 p.m. Friday.