Little Rock real estate agent assassin Beverly Carter banned from calling witnesses in prison treatment trial


Man convicted of murdering Little Rock real estate agent will not be allowed to call any witnesses other than himself at next week’s trial to find out if he was assaulted by state prison guards in 2016, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

Arron Lewis, 40, of Jacksonville, who is serving two life sentences without parole for the kidnapping and murder of Beverly Carter in 2014, sued the director of the Department of Corrections at the Arkansas, Wendy Kelley, Captain Mark Stephens and Staff Sgt. Hazel Robinson in United States District Court in 2018.

Kelley and Stephens were pulled from the civil rights lawsuit earlier this month, leaving Robinson as the sole defendant.

Lewis appeared in court Friday by video from the East Arkansas (Brickeys) regional unit in Lee County.

After a preliminary hearing before U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson, Lewis, who is representing himself, was left without a witness to testify to his claim that Robinson hit him on the left shoulder as he was escorted on sick call from prison to the Varner Supermax. Unit in June 2016. Lewis said he was seen on a patient call for a dislocated left shoulder and was in severe pain.

A second officer, Cpl. Jarius Sanders, who was helping Robinson escort Lewis to an illness call, said in an affidavit, dated July 14, 2021, that he did not witness the alleged assault.

Robinson and Sanders are both expected to testify in Robinson’s defense in the civil trial set to begin on Tuesday.

Wilson excluded 10 of Lewis’s witnesses because none had direct knowledge of the case, making their testimony irrelevant. The only witness he did not exclude was Lewis himself.

The 10 witnesses were prison staff who investigated Lewis’ grievance against Robinson, but had no direct knowledge of the incident beyond that.

“This is going to come down to my testimony, which you have already found not credible, against two officers for whom I cannot provide any supporting evidence,” complained Lewis. “I guess my whole list will have to be excluded except myself.”

Early in the hearing, Wilson addressed a complaint Lewis had filed regarding a recent transfer of Tucker’s maximum security unit in Jefferson County to Brickeys. Lewis told Wilson that after the move he discovered that a number of documents he needed for the trial were missing.

“The morning I was transferred, they came to my cell, I was about to use the phone, and they told me to come with them,” Lewis said. “They didn’t tell me I was transferred or anything.”

Lewis said he was left in a visitation cell while the contents of his cell were packed for transport.

“They left a lot of things,” he said. “My address book, my hearing aid, lots of court notes I had. I had all of my file entries and notes that I had written for this case, and half of those things are gone. It was a subversive attempt to do what they’re doing instead of just telling me, ‘Hey, you’re transferred. Gather all your things. ‘”

Wilson noted that an internal email, sent between prison officials and copied to Robinson’s attorney, Vincent France, indicated that photos of Lewis’s property had been taken prior to the shipment. The email said the photo recording had been included due to Lewis’s earlier claims of missing property after a transfer.

France, which, along with William Bird, represents Robinson, said documents had been provided regarding all transferred properties and the property had been inventoried in Lewis’s presence.

“We have included documents from Tucker’s officer who walked through the property while Mr. Lewis was present,” France said. “He never said anything was missing.”

Lewis argued that no inventory was provided of his legal documents; France said it was because these materials had not been examined.

“If we had reviewed all of his legal documents, he would claim that we misjudged his legal documents,” France said.

Satisfied with France’s explanation and the Lewis property record he had received, Wilson ruled that the available evidence indicated that Lewis’s property had been transferred in its entirety.

“They’re not holding back anything that I can determine,” Wilson said.

Lewis was sentenced to two life sentences after being convicted in January 2016 of capital murder and kidnapping in connection with the September 2014 death of Carter, whom he lured to a vacant home in Scott under the pretext of being interested in buying it.

At her trial, prosecutors said Carter, a married mother of three, died in agony and terror as she suffocated under the green ribbon Lewis wrapped around her face after her draft and his wife’s to hold her for ransom have collapsed.

Lewis’s wife, Crystal Lowery, testified against Lewis in exchange for clemency. She is serving a 30-year sentence for her role in the murder.

Information for this article was provided by John Lynch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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