Man charged in Realtor death says he was protecting wife

The man accused of kidnapping and killing an Arkansas real estate agent described to jurors burying the woman's body but insisted he was not responsible for her death.

Arron Lewis, charged in the September 2014 killing of 50-year-old Beverly Carter, testified in his own defense Friday. Prosecutors accuse Lewis and his estranged wife, Crystal Lowery, of scheduling an appointment to see a house with Carter, then kidnapping her for ransom and killing her when plans went awry.

But Lewis testified that Lowery — who has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping — was responsible for Carter's death and he helped her cover up the crime. He told jurors that both he and Lowery went to a concrete plant where Lewis once worked to bury the body.

"I mean, you want me to get rid of a freaking body, then you're going to come out and hold the flashlight," he said, in reference to Lowery. "That's all there is to it."

Lewis' attorney has suggested that Carter died accidentally during a consensual sex act, a claim that prosecutors soundly rejected. An autopsy found that Carter had been suffocated.

While testifying Friday, Lewis detailed his lengthy criminal history and said he implicated himself to investigators to protect Lowery, who has since filed for divorce.

"I didn't want her involved. I wanted better for her. I had already destroyed my life ... I wanted her to pursue her nursing career," Lewis said.

Lowery disputed Lewis' theory in testimony a day earlier, saying that she and Lewis were searching for someone to kidnap for ransom so they'd have enough money for him to move out of their home. She said they decided to kill Carter for fear that she would identify them, and that she wasn't present when it happened but that Lewis said he had choked Carter.

Lewis faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder.