LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of a man who was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life in prison for kidnapping, raping and robbing a Van Buren woman.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of a man who was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life in prison for kidnapping, raping and robbing a Van Buren woman.


Ardwin Frank Sylvester, now 38, was convicted in Sebastian County Circuit Court in May of kidnapping, rape and aggravated robbery. Prosecutors said that in June 2014 Sylvester abducted a woman at gunpoint from the parking lot of Staples office supply store in Fort Smith, drove her in her car to an industrial park, raped her and took money from her purse.


The woman later escaped by running from the car after Sylvester stopped at a gas station to get fuel, prosecutors said.


Sylvester argued on appeal that the trial judge should have granted a motion by his lawyer for a mistrial after an Arkansas State Police investigator testified that Sylvester asked for a lawyer when he was questioned about the case.


In a unanimous opinion Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected that argument, saying the investigator’s remark was not responsive to any question from the prosecutor and was not intended to impeach the defendant, so it was permissible. The court also noted that the defense declined an offer from the judge to tell the jury to disregard the remark.


Sylvester also argued that the judge should have granted motions by his lawyer for directed verdicts on all three charges, but the court said the arguments in Sylvester’s appeal were different from the arguments made at trial and said it would not consider arguments raised for the first time on appeal.