Travis Lewis, 39, was found at the house of Martha McKay after an alarm alerted Crittenden County Sheriff’s deputies to a break-in on the historic Snowden House in Horseshoe Lake, authorities said. The property also served as a location for the 1994 movie adaptation of the John Grisham murder thriller, “The Client.” “Snowden” is among the most distinguished names in regional and native historical past, as evidenced by the presence of Midtown’s Snowden Avenue and Snowden School. Martha McKay was the granddaughter of Grace Snowden and Robert Snowden, a enterprise investor and real property developer who once bought and offered The Peabody Hotel “inside hours,” as reported by The Commercial Appeal. Lewis wasparoled in 2018after serving 23 years of his 28.5-year sentence for murderingSally Snowden McKayandLee Bakerin 1996.
One of Arkansas’ most infamous murderers returned to the scene of his crime 24 years later to kill his victim’s daughter — and then drowned as he tried to flee cops, in accordance with officials. The historical past between Lewis and McKay, and her mother and cousin — members of the powerful Snowden household which owned much of the property in the space, together with The Peabody, a historic hotel in Memphis — is unclear. Years later, Sally McKay’s daughter, Martha McKay, bought an old colonial-style mansion by the lake only a brief distance from the place her mom had been murdered. The investigation led the authorities to Travis Lewis, a 16-year-old who lived along with his family on one of many rented Snowden properties. Travis and his brother had been friends with Lee Baker’s sons, and the families had known each other. Travis advised the police he had nothing to do with the crime, however they later realized that he was suspended from faculty on the day of the murders.
The Snowden household also made cash from renting out properties in Horseshoe Lake, and on a type of properties lived Lee Baker, her nephew who would help her out with managing the enterprise. The 52-year-old was a well-known blues and rock guitarist in Memphis, Tennessee. He had been influential within the music scene there and had been a half of many local bands.
Martha McKay had opposed a capital sentence for Lewis at the time of his sentencing and had befriended him whereas he was in prison, Jones mentioned. Investigators also found the physique of Martha McKay inside the home. “I felt like I was royalty, with the massive home and servants,” she stated. “Everything was recent from the garden, fresh eggs and all, and we even had a peach orchard. We got to swim daily, and it was simply best.”
It was Sept. 10, 1996, when a man entered a home on Arkansas’ Horseshoe Lake, fatally taking pictures two inhabitants, Sally Snowden McKay and her nephew, Lee Baker. More than 23 years later, deputies say the identical man returned to kill once more. Responding to an alarm, two deputies “discovered an open again door and upon clearing the house situated a potential hydraulic circuit technology suspect who jumped from an upstairs window,” Allen says. He provides that Lewis, 39, jumped right into a automobile and drove across the yard, becoming caught, per WMC. He then “ran and jumped into the lake. He was observed going beneath the water and by no means came again up.”
Officials recovered the 39-year-old killer’s body utilizing sonar equipment. The parties, reunions and weddings held at Snowden House introduced laughter to a place haunted by the 1996 murders of Martha’s mom, Sally Snowden McKay, and cousin, Joseph “Lee” Baker, on the property. Charged as an adult within the notorious Horseshoe Lake murders, Lewis pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to 28.5 years in prison.
The circuit choose was David Burnett, the same choose who blocked appeals by Damien Echols and the West Memphis Three. Burnett sentenced Lewis to 28 and a half years for the slayings and 5 years for housebreaking and theft. Lewis tried to recant his confession by saying he was not alone at the crime scene. He admitted he had been there when the murders occurred however mentioned it was an grownup who committed the killings.
Sign up forPEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletterfor breaking crime information, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved instances. In the early morning hours of March 25, 2020, sheriff’s deputies responded to an alarm on the stately, antebellum-style house of Martha McKay on Horseshoe Lake, Ark. “I think that she really felt in her heart he deserved to be rehabilitated, which I assume actually speaks to her character after such a tragic event happened to such a close member of the family,” he mentioned. “It was decided that he intended to steal this stuff ,” the investigator later explained. “However, it was not decided whether his intentions were to burglarise McKay’s home and she was killed in the process or if his intention was to murder McKay then opted to steal the items.” “Deputies right now responded to an alarm on the historical Snowden House in Horseshoe Lake,” Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen said in March.
Some neighbors informed the paper that McKay had been stabbed, while others say she was bludgeoned with a hammer. She had been stabbed, neighbors told the Commercial Appeal. Using sonar gear, members of the Crittenden County Search and Rescue team had been able to locate and recuperate Lewis’s body.