LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A judge ruled late Wednesday that prosecutors cannot use much of the information investigators obtained from interviews with an Arkansas man charged in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent.
Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Herb Wright issued an order saying most of the statements Arron Lewis made to investigators would not be allowed at trial. Wright’s ruling said only interviews with federal investigators that Lewis instigated by calling for them from an interrogation room would be allowed.
Lewis is charged with kidnapping and capital murder in the 2014 disappearance of Beverly Carter who disappeared in September 2014 after telling her husband she was going to show a house to a client.
A call after hours to the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s office was not answered late Wednesday.
Bill James, Lewis’ attorney, said he hadn’t had time to digest the full ruling.
“There’s a lot to be happy about, but there’s a lot we’re going to ask the court to reconsider,” James said. “I think what happened will give us the best chance of putting on the best defense possible for Mr. Lewis.”
James had asked that Lewis’ statements be suppressed because he asked for an attorney shortly after he was arrested during the process of being transferred from the Little Rock Police to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputies. Those deputies said they were unaware and Lewis did not ask for a lawyer when he was read his Miranda rights, which he refused to sign.
No attorney was present during hours of questioning while investigators were hoping to find Carter alive.
Wright agreed, saying in his order that most of the statements were inadmissible. He said that would change if Lewis testifies and contradicts anything that was said in those interviews.
Wright said he would allow a ransom recording Lewis played for investigators to be played for the jury at trial. In the recording, Carter can be heard telling her husband not to call police, to do what Lewis says and that she loved him.
Wright ruled on other evidence challenges, saying all evidence seized by police from Lewis’ Jacksonville home and from one of his cars was inadmissible because the search warrants were too broad.
The order says Lewis’ estranged wife, Crystal Lowery, who previously pleaded guilty to kidnapping and a reduced first-degree murder charge in the case, will be allowed to testify for the prosecution at trial.