tv Dateline Extra MSNBC March 19, 2017 3:00am-4:01am PDT
i would call myself lucky. >> i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, good night. i don't know what it is about my mom that has captured the heart of so many people. there's just something to her that people connect with. what was so beautiful about her, it made her a target, too. >> she was the queen of the million dollar listing, the real estate broker who sealed the deal. >> her customers love her. >> hands downs most genuine person you ever met. >> she headed out to show a house that day and never made it home. >> i'm texting her, i'm calling her. >> oh, gosh, what's happened here? >> something's wrong. >> was she in danger? was someone behind this?
>> i haven't been hurt. please don't call the police. if you call the police, it could be bad. >> you can hear how scared she was. >> suddenly an all-out manhunt. >> this is like a movie, this chase and this kidnapping. >> oh, yeah. >> could anybody reach her in time? >> i had to be strong for everybody. i had to be. >> emotions were everywhere. >> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded. >> did you find her? is she alive? >> i'm lester holt and this is "dateline." here is andrea canning with "the client." >> beverly carter was making a name for herself in little rock, arkansas. >> her face was in the paper every week. >> she had a billboard on one of the busiest interstates with her face on it. >> as a top selling realtor, beverly carter had become somewhat of a local celebrity. with her smile, he put house hunters at ease, trusted to find
the perfect home like she often did. >> she was awesome at it. nobody can do it like beverly could. >> but there was a down side to celebrity. >> this realtor had a target on her back. >> she did and she didn't know it. >> for beverly, being a realtor was more than closing the deal. was see in the perfect job for her personality? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> her sons, chad and carl jr. and his wife were always amazed at how much they loved her. >> one of her clients, she went to their baby shower. she just sold them a house. it was a newer client. that speaks for itself. >> she a beautiful smile. >> she had a smile that would fill the room. >> she was hands down the most genuine person you ever met. >> chad, beverly's youngest son, said it was like his mom glowed.
>> she was radiant. that's what spoke out to people. it was like his mother glowed. >> i think that's what stood out was that confidence. she was naturally beautiful. >> it was that natural beauty that caught the eye of her husband, carl. they met when they were just kids. >> she was 16. i was 19. >> wow. where did you meet her? >> splendora, texas. she was working at a little hamburger joint named the bionic burger. wow, i didn't know i would get me a wife when i got me a burger. >> you just knew? >> yeah. like that, right there. >> a wedding soon followed at city hall. >> very small wedding. she loved me and i loved her. we thought we were in love, anyway. >> their young love led to three children, all boys and later, six grandchildren. they had their share of marital problems, including money issues and infidelity, but they worked them out. so when their 20th anniversary rolled around, they decided to renew their vows and throw their
big party. >> i said would you marry me again if i asked you to? she said, well, yeah. i says, okay. >> you know, they wanted to renew their love, show everybody. >> and it was a way for her to get her dream wedding. gosh. >> a few years after that, she got her real estate license and her best friends, stacy, brenda and denise say it didn't take long for beverly to build a loyal clientele. >> did she sell a lot of property? >> she was the top listing in 2013. she did over $12 million, which in central arkansas is very well. >> what was it that made her good at closing the deal. >> she had that magic about her. >> she had the bubbly personality that it made you fall in love with the house. >> the women worked together in the same office, though they often said it felt more like play than work. >> we would laugh about anything. you know how it is whether you get with your girl friends, you
talk about things you find funny, we would tell stories. she had this huge, goofy laugh you could hear all the way down the hall. >> and as realtors, they looked out for each other. their office even came one a secret code, a text that signalled there was trouble. >> so red folder was the code? >> you would say "do you have the red folder on 123 main street?" >> the code they hoped they would never have to use. as her 50th birthday approached, beverly was determined to get in shape. she started running, working her way to up 5k races. >> the reason she started running was the medal. she had this fascination with medals. >> she lost nearly 60 pounds and gave herself a present, cosmetic surgery. >> she'd have the tummy tuck but she'd also have implants because
she had a lift. and it was kind of a joke because when they put the implants in, they were a little bit larger than she wanted them to me. >> yes, they were. >> we had some big laughs about that. she's going to have them reduced because they hadn't fallen and they were sitting up here. >> but she did look good. >> she looked fabulous. >> and being a real estate agent, she felt it was important to look her best. on an unseasonably warm day, beverly was easing back into work. brenda remembers beverly telling her she was going show a house not far from her home. they were offering cash. >> she really didn't want to go, she was tired. she wanted to get a fast close. if it's a fast close, you can get a closing quicker. >> this is an every day, run of the mill showing. >> a no brainer, yeah. >> beverly had left the office
and headed off to show the property to a young couple. she told her husband she'd be home for dinner. but you didn't hear from her? >> no. >> carl started to worry. beverly had given her the address so he decided to take a ride over. >> if she was over there, her car would be there. i went over and there was her car. >> she was not in the house? so this is panic time for you? >> right. i thought it was weird. because beverly wouldn't leave unless she was in her car. >> did you call the police? >> yes. instantly. >> that call set off a frantic search for beverly carter. where was she? when we come back, what happened to beverly? >> all of a sudden, beverly texted me. bam, bam, bam. >> our phones started beeping at the same time with texts. she said, i'm sorry, my phone has been dead. >> was it is simple miscommunication? the mystery was just beginning. >> i still can't feel the same
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>> carl carter was worried about his wife, beverly. she had promised to be home for dinner after showing this house not too far away. but it was dark now. she wasn't answering her phone and at the property for sale, her car was in the driveway but there was no sign of her. carl says he called the police.
then his son. >> he says, you know, it's almost 9:00. he said, son, i haven't heard from your mom. have you heard from her? i'm texting her, i'm calling her and i can't -- i can't get any response. and my first thought was, dad, this is just the nature of the business. >> to reassure his dad and himself, carl jr. and his wife, kim, drove over to beverly's office hoping she'd be there. >> there was no one there. i mean, the place is completely black. and about that time dad had let me know that he had made it to the property where mom told him she was going and her car was there but she wasn't. >> carl jr. figured there must be an explanation, as did beverly's friend stacy and brenda. being real estate agent themselves, she thought maybe she had gone with the potential buyers to show them other houses. >> we went to the two vacant houses that were her listings and went and checked the locked boxes to see if anyone had read them and nobody had opened them.
>> as the hours ticked by, beverly's friend denise couldn't sleep, so she checked her phone. >> there's an e-mail from brenda and i can still see the words that said "it is with a very heavy heart that i let you know we can't find beverly, she went to show a house and she is missing." i still can read that and feel the same pay. >> police and beverly's family gathered at the property trying to figure out where she was. >> how was your dad handling everything? >> he was hard to read. he would sneak away from time to time trying to collect his thoughts. >> and then at 1:00. bam, bam, bam, three texts. i hollered at the officer, come here, beverly texted me. >> word that beverly was texting gave everyone hope. >> i was ecstatic. her phone died, she got it charged, it's good. >> brenda and stacy got texts of their own.
>> our phones started beeping at the same time with texts. >> it was such an eerie feeling. i was like oh my gosh. >> what was he saying to you two? >> she said, i'm sorry, my phone has been dead and it's back on. >> it sounded promising, but a little off. concerned, brenda used that safety technique the office came up with and texted beverly with the special code. i said "can you tell me if you left the red folder on my desk?" if she was in trouble, she would text back her location. >> there was no response. >> the one i got was, "i'm out having drinks with friends." i was like, well, we're just here. >> the ones on her husband's phone were just as deflating. they read, yes, sorry, phone been dead and having drinks now. carl jr. knew his mom would never go out and not tell anyone. >> i can't even tell you, to go from she's okay, this is all
over, to the second we saw the screen and saw what the texts said, we knew someone had her phone. >> totally flipped me out. she'd been took. >> the patrol division decided they needed back up. they rushed to the property. beverly hadn't been missing that long. why were you called so quickly? >> the division showed up and started speaking with the husband and determined that some of the factors in the case were odd. >> not only was beverly's car parked in the driveway, her purse was locked inside. did you have just a grim feeling right out of the gate that this woman did not disappear voluntarily? >> i was hopeful but i did have a feeling, yes. >> the detective searched the vacant house. it was pitch black. the electricity was off. >> i got down on the floor and with my flashlight when it's dark you can shine a light at a specific angle, you could see disturbances in dust.
there were disturbances, but just looked like somebody had walked through there. >> no signs of a struggle inside but he did discover a clue outside the front door. >> there was a tire track in the grass. looked look somebody had pulled up next to the front door or backed into the back door. >> the neighbor across the street had seen something? >> yes, she looked out the window and saw a vehicle pulled into the driveway and later looked outside and saw a skinny white male with short hair at the house with a vehicle backed to the door. >> the detective found more in the back of beverly's car. >> i found a note back that she kept with realtor information on it that showed a listing on that house. >> was there anything show anything clues? >> attached to the listing was an e-mail address and phone number. >> did you call it right away? >> i did not call it right away. no. >> he did not pick up the phone for a good reason. the detective had a theory.
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>> as the sun rose the next morning, there was still no sign of beverly carter. her family and friends were out searching. >> we had beautiful 8 x 10 color fliers that we were posting everywhere. >> she had just had some new head shots done. >> we had hundreds. >> and hundreds of people joined search parties all over the area. >> her family, her office family came together and we had realtors from all over the state helping us. and by that afternoon, we had the search set up and everybody had an assignment. >> many realtors felt this was personal. one of their own while out doing her job had gone missing. and agents were already on alert. in recent years there had been a rise in crimes against real estate brokers across the country, brutal assaults and even murder. >> how often did you talk about safety?
>> i mean, we always talked about it but a lot of times if someone called us and asked us to go show a house, out of instinct you'd jump up and go. >> this was not a last minute showing for beverly. she'd been in contact with clients for a few days. >> it was a man who contacted her. >> she wanted to make sure the wife was going to be there also. shemt she wanted to show them at the same time. i think it made her more comfortable that the wife would be with him. the wife got on the telephone and told her, yes, she would be there. >> her friends pointed out the neighborhood where she was showing the house she knew well. she felt very comfortable in this area? >> yes, that was her stomping ground. >> she had sold several houses on that street. she was very familiar with the area. >> her pastor lived on that street. >> and that street was now a crime scene. news stations helped get the word out. >> an arkansas real estate agent remains missing this evening. >> did that become the lead
story on every newscast? >> every newscast. all kind of feedback from viewers. the biggest story online. the biggest story on facebook. viewers immediately latched on to it. >> shannon miller covered it for nbc affiliate kaark. she said finding her was a local obsession. >> people came out in droves, looking for her, wondering where she had gone. to not come home from work after doing something you do every day left a huge mystery. what happened to her? >> beverly's husband, carl, even made a plea. >> i would like to tell my wife -- >> he sounded heart broken, but not everyone was buying the distraught husband story. >> people were saying, oh, the husband must have had something to do with it, must have hired somebody. we all watch a lot of "dateline." >> carl jr., so worried about his mom, now feared his dad could become a suspect. >> they were asking questions like, okay, you're the husband and you just went into this home
to search for her, you've gone up in the attic. your fingerprints are everywhere. you just completely contaminated our crime scene, why did you do that? and so you could just see their wheels turning. it was like, oh, no. >> he was right to worry. detective allison brought carl sr. in for questioning. >> did you put carl in an interview room? >> yes. >> and treated him like this is somebody we need to take seriously? >> yes. anytime you do an interview like that, it's best to do it in that setting. it plays on their emotions. >> did you ever consider the possibility that carl could have paid somebody to do this? >> yeah, i thought about it. >> did you know why you were considered somebody that they needed to talk to? >> once i got in there and they started questioning me, then i knew that i was a suspect. >> as detective allison
continued to question carl, he discovered some skeletons. they were having financial issues? >> yeah. >> how much money did beverly carter have in her checking account? >> i don't know exact dollar amount but it want much. >> $126? >> that sounds about right. >> was there a life insurance policy? >> yes, several thousand dollars. $100,000. >> $100,000? >> yes. i don't remember the exact dollar amount. >> the detective learned about other issues he found disturbing. >> he said, well, did you have any kind of affair? >> i said, yes, i had one. >> and something else that was troubling. years before, carl said he got violent with beverly, when he tried to stop him from driving drunk. >> i even hit her one time. that's when she got out of the truck and said i'm not going to ride with you. i said stay here then. i just drove off, just straight into a ditch. >> did you regret it? >> oh, yeah. like i felt like poo-cocky as far as that goes.
honestly. i need to roll in it. >> so did you worry how that would look? >> no, i didn't worry about a thing. i wanted to find beverly. i wanted to find beverly. i hit her and that was it. just one time in 34 years, one slap upside the head isn't bad. >> he says that was many years ago and beverly never held it against him. >> she'd forgive me right then because that wasn't me. >> detective allison had other work to do. the e-mail address and phone numbers of the perspective buyers in beverly's notebook were fake. tracking them was harder. erie photos from her phone taken inside the home just before she
went missing. >> coming up -- >> she knew something was wrong. >> what had happened inside that house? a new lead morphs into an all-out manhunt. >> a guy jumps out a second story window. >> this is like a movie, the chase and kidnapping. >> oh, yeah. but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. youthat's why you drink ensure. sidelined. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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beijing. pushing china for closer cooperation in dealing with north korea. all options are on the table. chuck berry died at the age of 90. he had many hits including mablean and school day. the legendary guitarist was one of the first inductees into the hall of fame. now, back to "dateline." >> detectives searched computer and phone records, and data was pouring in. they were hoping it would lead to the missing real estate agent. beverly carter's cell carrier turned over everything on her phone. and there was one thing that caught investigator's attention. these blurry and dark pictures she took of the house she was trying to sell. not exactly showcase material. when her daughter-in-law had a chance to see them -- >> you have a theory about why they're badly taken photos.
>> you can just tell that it was like quick, just quick. >> like she knew -- >> i knew she knew something was wrong. >> she believed beverly was scared of those potential buyers and was rushing to finish showing the house. it was all bad news. beverly carter had now been missing for three days. >> i've never felt that kind of loss of control. you feel utterly hopeless. >> and helpless. >> yeah. >> you can't do anything. >> yeah. >> what they didn't know was that detectives were about to crack this case wide open. the team that had discovered the buyers' contact information was fake kept investigating. >> and they were able to start taking the e-mail address and phone numbers and sending out search warrants and obtaining subscriber information to that e-mail and phone number. >> did names pop up? >> yes. >> their real names, aaron lewis and his wife, crystal lowrie. police raced over to put the couple's house under surveillance.
>> this was a very delicate operation. >> yes. we were working with the expectation with the hope that she was still alive. >> detective allison said he wasn't sure if the couple was even involved. he first wanted to see what aaron lewis looked like. remember the eyewitness had seen a skinny man with short brown hair the night beverly disappeared. they hadn't been there long when a man matching that description walked out the door, but they didn't approach him. >> were you hoping he would lead to you beverly? >> yes. we felt if we made contact too early, if he was the one we were looking for, everything is shot. >> louis got into his car and that's when the detective says the plan quickly fell apart. >> he saw us sitting there. that's when he started speeding off. >> he knew you were following him? >> oh, yeah. he went around a 90-degree corner and wrecked. he was out of the vehicle by the time we went around the corner
and saw him. >> louis was injured. police photographed him and rushed him to the hospital. >> we are not allowed to go back with them when they are getting certain treatment. the detective is waiting while they take him back to get an mri or cat scan or whatever they are doing and decide to leave the hospital. >> aaron doesn't come back. >> he doesn't come back. >> aaron louis bolted from the hospital. what seemed the closest link to beverly carter slipped through their fingers. police launched a citywide manhunt. >> was that one of the first things you did was get photos out to the media? >> yes. >> everybody knows -- >> everybody knows. >> you have to get this guy? >> right. >> and beverly's life is at stake. >> yes. >> reporter shannon miller cuts in with breaking news. >> searching for a man wanted for kidnapping beverly carter. >> was the whole city glued to their tv sets as the hunt for beverly was on? >> absolutely. so many people knew this
picture, knew this face. >> and. everyone was on the look out. ben and conan, managers at a mortgage company were discussing the case in their office. >> as we're standing in front of this window with the window open, aaron lewis walks in front of the window. >> they immediately called 911. >> 911. >> i'm sitting here, they are looking for a guy here that was involved in the realtor being kidnapped and this guy looks like him and he is nervous and he's out here at a bus stop. >> conan went out to the bus stop to confirm it really was lewis. >> i approached him. he was a little standoffish. i made quick conversation about the bus routes, which put him at ease. i thanked him for his time and walked away. and i went inside and told my colleagues, absolutely that is louis without a doubt. >> they saw louis ducking inside a sandwich shop. he's caught on a security
camera. and when louis left -- >> someone from a distance outside made a comment "i think that's him" and that spooked him. >> louis took off toward this apartment complex. >> maybe five people chasing him. we knew we were in different areas. i think we were confident where he was. luckily as soon as we turned the corner, we saw the police coming in. >> when the police get there, aaron takes off running into an apartment and jumps out of a second story window before he's taken into custody. >> this is like a movie, this chase and kidnapping. did it feel like that? >> oh, yeah. still does. >> the cops finally had a suspect. and what he revealed would send detectives on a hair-raising ride to find the missing real estate agent. coming up -- a haunting recording. >> i just want to let you know i'm okay. i haven't been hurt. >> could beverly still be alive? >> i had hoped. you have to.
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dearthere's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say...if you love something set it free. see you around, giulia >> police had a suspect in custody. his name was aaron louis. he was an unemployed truck driver who had been convicted of petty crimes in several states. to beverly's son carl jr., he
didn't look like a kidnapper. >> he just looks like a regular guy. so it was like what did this punk want with my mom? like it didn't make sense. i almost was like are we sure we have the right guy? >> detectives believed they did. but the roller coaster ride for beverly carter's family and friends was far from over. >> i can remember the feeling when he was captured, we were just all like, yes, where is she? come on, where are you? we're ready to find you. >> as investigators focused on aaron louis, they backed off on beverly's husband as a suspect. now detective allison was keeping carl in the loop. >> he said we got him. i said, well, where's beverly? he said we're still questioning him. we're going to find out. we're going to keep on till we find her. >> then did you have a little burst of hope? >> just a little bit of hope. that's all i had. >> really your biggest task was to find out where beverly was? >> that was my biggest task and
concern at that time. >> did louis know where beverly was? if he did, would he tell the detective? what was his story? where was beverly? >> he said that he kidnapped beverly and it was because of money. he said he found her on the internet, searched her out, saw that she was a broker and felt like she had money. >> louis described in detail what he claimed happened. he said when he contacted beverly about the house showing, she told him she didn't feel comfortable meeting just him. so he got his wife, crystal on the phone and told her she was going, too. >> he makes an excuse as to why crystal couldn't come. aaron tells me he had beverly take photographs of the house with the phone. >> that explains why the photos were dark and blurry. louis said he'd asked beverly to send them to crystal because she couldn't be there.
>> he said when they got to the top of the stairs, he pulled out a flashlight taser and said she was about to have a bad day. she asked, what are you talking about? he said you're being kidnapped. >> beverly must been terrified. >> no doubt. no doubt. >> louis then claimed he had an accomplice and he wasn't talking about his wife who had set up the meeting with beverly. it was someone else. >> he said if anything happened to beverly, trevor done it. >> who's trevor? >> trevor is a guy that aaron lived with for a short period of time. >> did this give you hope there was an accomplice here and maybe he did have beverly? >> i had hope we were going to find beverly alive. you have to. that's what keeps you going. >> louis said the last time he saw beverly, he was with trevor and offered evidence she might still be alive. louis played a recording from his phone and it was chilling. >> carl, it's beverly. i just want to let you know i'm okay. i haven't been hurt.
just do what he says and please don't call the police. if you call the police, it could be bad. i just want to let you know, i love you very. >> it was encouraging but it only proved beverly was alive at the time of the recording. the detective told louis he needed more. >> that's when he finally says i'll take you to the last place that she was. >> so this is a big moment now. >> yup. >> in this whole case. this is it. >> yup. that's when we load him up and we start going to cabot, arkansas. >> beverly's family prayed this nightmare was about to end. >> did you know that aaron louis was saying your mom was alive? >> yes. we knew that after they had him and they were interrogating him. >> there was a big boost of energy. when he was telling us, it was so uplifting. we were like, okay, we're about to get her back. it's great. >> is everybody sit big the phone, waiting for the call, we got her? >> mm-hmm. pacing.
>> louis led detective allison on a nail biting road trip 30 miles out of town, the last place he claimed to see beverly alive. a shed on the side of the road. >> what are you thinking as you're approaching the shed? there's a really good chance she could be here or you're not so sure? >> i'm hoping like hell she's there. we go in and she wasn't in there. she had never been in there. >> that's such a letdown. >> tell me about it. it was bad. it was bad. >> but louis wasn't done. he had a captive audience and he knew it. he took the police to a new location, a house about 35 miles away. >> and he says, well, this is where i initially took her after i abducted her. as soon as we walked in, there was nothing. >> another letdown. >> another letdown. >> are you feel like this guy is taking us on a wild goose chase? >> yup. i was so mad that i couldn't drive him back.
i had to ride back with another detective. >> there's a woman's life that could be at stake, he's messing with the police. >> playing games. playing games. >> while louis was leading detectives on this wild goose chase, another cop had tracked down this trevor, the man louis claimed was his accomplice. >> we figured out he was in the military here in little rock, assigned to the little rock air force base. we did make contact with him. actually interviewed him. >> they interrogated trevor for several hours, then let him go. >> he wasn't even in town. >> he had an ironclad alibi? >> absolutely. we confirmed with the military's office of special investigation he was on base that day. >> lie after lie. there was no accomplice. neither location turned up anything. police were running out of options. then detective allison thought of one more possibility, a cement plan called argo's where
louis had previously worked. i point blank asked him if beverly was at argo's. at that point he looked up and had this stupid look on his face and i figured that's where she was at. police raced to the factory hoping to find beverly alive. coming up, another game from aaron louis. >> i was so mad. how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation. >> at last, an answer for beverly's family. >> we found beverly. ck or is it your allergy pills? break through your allergies. introducing flonase sensimist. more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist you may not even notice. using unique mistpro technology, new flonase sensimist delivers a gentle mist to help block six key inflammatory substances that cause your symptoms. most allergy pills only block one.
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>> four days after beverly carter disappeared, police pulled up to this remote cement plant. they frantically searched for the missing real estate agent. >> you just now have this gut feeling that's where she's at? >> yeah. >> shortly after arriving, an officer stumbled on something straight out of a crime novel, an elbow sticking out of a shallow grave. it was beverly. detective allison went to see carl. you never forget the look on somebody's face when you tell them that you found their spouse. it's hard. it's probably the hardest part of it. >> he said we found beverly. i said, well, is she alive?
no, i'm sorry, but she wasn't. >> we had worked so hard, i mean, to find her. we just really tried to do right and it wasn't enough. >> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded for her life and to come back to us and for her grand babies. and i just have to know they got there comforting her. >> aaron louis was charged with murder and kidnapping and his wife, crystal lowrie, charged as his accomplice. they pleaded not guilty. but his words to reporter shannon miller outside the sheriff's office didn't sound like those of an innocent man. >> why beverly? why beverly? >> she was a rich broker. >> it was just as chilling in person as it was on tv. and then he gets into the car and you're going what did he just say? >> two weeks later, shannon
interviewed louis in jail and he told a vastly different story from the one he told detectives. was he willing to cop to anything? >> no. >> i didn't kill her. i didn't murder her. and anything that did occur was an accident. >> then he tried to say beverly played a role in her own death. he implied she willingly met him at the house for a sexual hookup that went wrong. >> it didn't have nothing to do with her showing the home. just a place to meet. >> in your opinion, how far fetched was the new story about the sexual encounter? >> it was 100% made up so completely far fetched. >> assistant district attorney john johnson was assigned the case. he believed it was a kidnapping gone wrong but needed help proving it in court. he turned to louis's wife, crystal lowrie. >> i thought from the very beginning we would need to flip crystal and it would be important for the case for her to testify.
>> he made a deal with crystal. she agreed to testify against her husband and plead guilty of murder and kidnapping in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years. >> it's good for the jury to be able to hear the back story of what went on and the why of what went on. >> aaron louis went on trial. the prosecution's star witness, crystal lowrie, took the stand and told the jury all the grisly details. she claimed it was all about money, not sex. >> she said he came up with the idea of kidnapping someone but she even went so far as to suggest real estate agents. >> she testified she was in class at nursing school when louis abducted beverly. >> she got a text from aaron louis saying look at this or something like that and it was a picture of miss carter bound in the trunk of the car. she said that when she got home, he had brought miss carter back
to the house. >> she told the jury when she got home, beverly was locked in their bathroom and what she said next showed how little thought went into this plan. louis had forgotten beverly's purse with her atm card at the property, so he went back to get it. crystal says when he got close to the house, cops were everywhere. one even pulled him over. >> this particular officer just stopped a car that was coming in to say, hey, have you seen, and just ask questions and put the person on alert. >> the officer couldn't have known that aaron louis was the man they were looking for. >> miss carter was still alive and he just didn't know it. >> when louis returned home, crystal told the jury that's when the couple ran out of options. >> she was in the bathroom with crystal's medication and she knew crystal's name. >> beverly had seen too much. they agreed she had to die. >> aaron took miss carter from their house and put her in the back of the car and drove her out to the cement plant.
>> that's when prosecutors believe louis did something horrific. he wrapped beverly's face in duct tape and let her suffocate. >> he came home and told crystal she was dead. >> and the heart of the prosecution's case, the recording of beverly pleading to her husband, they played it for the jury. >> do what he says and please don't call the police. if you call the police it, could be bad. >> prosecutors argued the recording showed she had been kidnapped and discounted the claim of a hook up. how would they contradict that claim? attorney bill james ignored it. >> i was unable to come up with any plausible explanation for that recording that helped us. >> was this one of your biggest obstacles? this recording? >> everything came back to the recording. >> instead he led jurors in a different direction, beverly's personal life. >> you said this case is about secret lives.
what did you mean by that? >> in order for our defense to be correct, she would have to be living a life that was basically secretly doing something that other people didn't know about. >> here's where louis' story got even stranger. he was no longer implying that he had sex with beverly. >> he claims he was out of the house at the time? >> that's what he said, yes. >> louis said the tryst was between beverly and crystal. he said beverly accidentally died during rough sex. >> she died with his wife and he was protecting his wife and trying to cover up for her. >> to further bolster the story, james suggested to the jury that beverly had been prone to poor judgment. he pointed out that she was broke but driving a brand new cadillac and getting expensive surgery. >> i'm just saying she made some bad decisions, maybe she made another one. >> finally aaron louis took the
stand and told the jury about the alleged rendezvous with beverly and his wife. during cross-examination, prosecutors pounced and they questioned him about every detail, including that one piece of evidence that seemed to contradict their story, beverly's voice on that tape telling her husband she'd been kidnapped. >> what he ultimately told the jury is he had done it himself, synthesized the voice and created the tape. >> you'll forgive me if i say that sounds a little silly? >> you'll forgive me if i say i'm just saying what happened at trial. i'm telling you what the evidence was. >> to beverly's family, it was not only preposterous, it was painful to listen to. >> we'd been victimized over and over again by him. i was angry that not only did he do it but he continued to hurt my mom. >> i was so mad because i fell
like how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation. >> the verdict was back within an hour. >> we hear foot steps running, "the verdict's in." it was very quick. >> good sign? >> yes, great sign. >> aaron louis was found guilty on all counts and given two life sentences. >> i felt relief, instantly relief that we got him. >> and beverly's family is working to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else's family. they started the beverly carter foundation. her son travels the country training real estate agents about safety. >> it's a blessing for me because i get to not only raise awareness, talk about safety, best practices, but then i also use that as an opportunity for me to kind of slide in some great stories about my mom and so kind of keep her alive.
>> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. trumped up. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington on st. patrick's day. he said what wasn't true. he told a big fib and for two weeks he tried to cover it up. this is the sad, embarrassing fact of the president. it started with an early morning tweet from mar-a-lago that his predecessor had wiretapped his home. the president and his interpreters doubled down defying all evidence to the contrary. they insisted donald trump was right. they cited blogs, overseas news accounts and conspiracy theories and yesterday press secretary