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Monday, May 2, 2016

Estes pleads guilty

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Carolyn Estes
Carolyn Estes, an Ash Flat city council member, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder during Sharp County District Court Sept. 9.

According to court papers, in 2007, Estes asked Gary "Crowbar" Russell to kill her ex-husband, Tony Stewart, stating she had wanted Stewart dead for several months. Crowbar then contacted Stewart telling him of Estes' plan. A private investigator set Crowbar up with cameras and voice recorders to document his conversations with Estes.

Reports said Crowbar met with Estes at her home in Ash Flat. Estes told Crowbar she had the nerve to follow through with plan C if he did. Estes refered to the plot to kill Stewart as "plan B" or "plan C." According to the report, Estes then started to discuss compensation for the crime. Estes told Crowbar that money was no issue and offered him $100,000 to kill Stewart, which Crowbar agreed to.

The report says Estes went on to warn Crowbar that Stewart's home was under surveillance and to be careful. She also told Crowbar that if he were to follow Stewart to a casino, Stewart would also be monitored there. Estes told Crowbar that this had to look like an accident and it could not look like they were involved, the report said.

Before leaving Estes' home on June 1, 2007, Estes reportedly gave Crowbar $700 cash to purchase an untraceable firearm. The report said, she told him the only concern she had was getting Crowbar the $100,000 without getting caught.

During the court proceedings, Stewart was accompanied by his attorney, special prosecutor Jack McQuary. Estes was represented by Bill Bristow and Larry Kissee. Estes entered a negotiated plea of guilty to a class A felony, conspiracy to commit capitol murder, waiving her right to an arraignment and jury trial. Judge Harold Erwin told Estes that this offense was punishable by a minimum of 30 and maximum of 60 years in a state correctional facility with a fine not to exceed $25,000.

The victim, Tony Stewart, made a request to the court that Estes not be sentenced to any jail time. Stewart expressed his concern for their disabled child who resides with Estes and requires 24-hour care.

Estes and her attorneys agreed to a sentence of 96 months probation and a fine of $1,000. Judge Erwin asked Estes if she had signed a waiver forfeiting her rights to the $700 she had paid Crowbar to purchase the firearm. Estes told the judge she had signed the waiver. This money will be placed in the Sharp County Sheriff's Department Special Investigations fund.

Stewart's attorney told the court that in the couple's divorce decree Estes was named the beneficiary of a life insurance policy on Stewart. Stewart's attorney requested that the decree be changed to name their children as beneficiaries, removing Estes from the policy, which Erwin ordered.

"If you violate any of these conditions you will be brought back up and sentenced," Erwin told Estes. "If you come back it is my policy that I will not listen to the victim next time."

Stewart's attorney also informed the judge that the two had agreed there would be no contact between them unless it directly involved their disabled child. All other contact would be through their attorneys.

Judge Erwin waived the clause stating a person on probation must seek employment for up to 40 hours per week due to the disabled child in Estes' care.

According to the Sharp County Sherriff's office, Crowbar has a history of arrest ranging from disorderly conduct to assault and battery. At one time Crowbar starred in a fishing program on KAIT-8 Jonesboro.

Mark Hayes of the Arkansas Municipal League said that because of the felony conviction Estes will have to resign from her position on the Ash Flat City Council. Hayes said if she refused to resign appropriate steps will have to be taken.

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The sentence she received was a sham. She was willing to kill the father of her children and she still gets to keep the kids and not have any jail time. She must have some friends in high places to get off with probation and a fine. I have seen people go to jail for a long time for a crime not nearly as bad and still lose their children. Wow, is all I can say. Remind me that when I try to have someone killed to do it in this county and can use her sentence as the precedent to not have to go to jail.

-- Posted by raisen on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 7:50 PM


I'm not sure this makes a difference, but the children are adopted. And the victim is the one that asked for the reduced sentence. One of the children is mentally handicapped and wouldn't understand if their mother was taken away from them. Now, I do think they should have made her get a job, but other than that I think it worked out for the best concerning both parties. Let me also bring to light that both of the children are over 20-years-old.

-- Posted by cobalt28 on Sat, Sep 20, 2008, at 3:13 PM

There are a lot of children whose parents are in prison and they don't understand. The fact that the child is handicapped should not be the issue. A person that has so little integrity for human life is not a good person to raise children regardless. There are a lot of reasons that people think they should not go to jail and still have to go. The fact that the victim made a statement to not give her jail time should be null. Does he not want her to go to jail because he don't want to deal with the handicapped child. What she did is a crime and regardless of her reasons, it was wrong and she was willing to have someone killed.

-- Posted by raisen on Sun, Sep 21, 2008, at 4:06 PM

Has anyone payed attention to the part of the story stating who made these allegations?? Crowbar, someone who has had a history of arrest, someone who is known in the community as a shady character. Did he profit from this in some way? I would guess he did, in some way. I also don't understand what the children being adopted has to do with anything at all. Does that mean that they are loved less by Estes? I doubt it!! Until you walk in someone elses shoes you should not judge!

-- Posted by box1 on Mon, Sep 22, 2008, at 10:40 PM

Did you read that part that says Estes Pleads GUILTY. Why is the messenger being blamed for something she wanted done. Dosen't that now make her a shady character also. Crowbar at least turned it in instead of letting the man be killed.

-- Posted by raisen on Tue, Sep 23, 2008, at 7:19 AM

Crowbar may have gotten immunity on some charges, but no I do not believe he profited from this. So unless you walk in his shoes, I wouldn't judge.

As for the children being adopted, I believe that was pointed at the statement of "father of her children". Those children are loved dearly by both parents.

There is more to this story, but I guess the papers are afraid of all parites involved to dig deeper.

-- Posted by staple77 on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 10:59 AM

Crowbar Russell is a great person and those people who posted comments about his shady past should think twice about judging people they obviously don't know. Remember what the bible said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Also if he is such a bad person, why did he not hesitate to do the right thing by working with the police? Anyone who really knows Crowbar, knows that he is a good man and those who don't know him should keep their ignorant opinions to themselves.

-- Posted by JTSchwab on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 11:02 AM

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