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Realtor's body found; suspect pleads not guilty

By JILL BLEED

Associated Press LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A man accused of abducting and killing a real estate agent in rural Arkansas pleaded not guilty Tuesday to preliminary charges of kidnapping and capital murder, hours after the woman's body was discovered in a shallow grave.

Arron Michael Lewis appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to one count each of capital murder, kidnapping and robbery, as well as four weapons charges, according to the office of Pulaski County District Judge Wayne Gruber.

Early Tuesday morning, investigators found the body of Beverly Carter, 49, at Argos Concrete Company in a rural area about 25 miles northeast of Little Rock and more than 20 miles away from Scott, where she had an appointment to show a house Thursday but hadn't been seen since.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office Lt. Carl Minden said Lewis admitted to kidnapping Carter but did not lead authorities to her body. He said investigators received a tip that led them to the concrete company where Carter's body was found.

Lewis previously worked for the concrete company, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Tuesday. Lewis, 33, was being held on $1 million bail in the Pulaski County jail.

Lewis spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday morning as he was taken from the jail to the sheriff's office, where he was interviewed again after spending more than 12 hours with investigators Monday.

When asked by reporters why Carter was targeted, Lewis responded: "Because she was just a woman that worked alone - a rich broker." He denied killing her.

Police haven't said how investigators linked Lewis to Carter's disappearance, but Sheriff Doc Holladay said more details will be released at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

"I just want to express my condolences to the Carter family and her friends who have worked so hard to find her and these investigators who were committed to finding her," Holladay told reporters Tuesday morning.

___

Follow Jill Bleed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jzbleed

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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