The alleged killer of Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music executive and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Clarence Avant, was failed by a tough-on-crime approach that focuses only on incarceration and not on the root causes of crime, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said.
Aariel Maynor faces murder, attempted murder and burglary charges, along with being a felon in possession of a gun in connection with the Dec. 1 alleged killing in Avant’s Beverly Hills home and a botched burglary at a second home where police say he accidentally shot himself in the foot.
Court records show Maynor, 29, was on parole at the time of the killing and has an extensive criminal record. He pleaded guilty to a robbery charge in 2013 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He pleaded no contest to a domestic violence incident in July 2013 and was convicted of grand theft in 2010.
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He was released on parole in July 2018 but was sentenced in November of that year to four years in prison for robbery with enhancements for being a prior convicted felon. He was released on Sept. 1.
“As far as we can see, he never received any meaningful intervention that may have helped him set his life on a different path,” Gascon told reporters Wednesday. “One that would have prevented the terrible tragedy from occurring.”
The remarks came as the top prosecutor was defending his policies amid a second recall effort and criticism that his office is soft on crime.
After taking a moment of silence for Avant, 81, Gascon noted that Maynor was found with an AR-15 rifle at the scene of the second robbery, according to police.
“I’m angry at a system that allows a disturbed young man with a proven track record of violent behavior to be cycled in and out of prison with little or no meaning intervention to be able to gain access to an AR-15 military-style weapon and go out and kill Jacqueline Avant,” he said.
Maynor was arrested hours after allegedly killing Avant, a local philanthropist who supported many causes in Los Angeles. She and her husband counted many celebrities and political figures like former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as friends.
In addition to social causes, Avant served on the boards of several organizations dedicated to preserving the fine arts. The Avant family has announced a Jacqueline Avant Memorial Fund for the new MLK Children’s Center in South Los Angeles.
In a statement, the Avant and Sarandos families thanked the public for the “outpouring of love and support” from around the world.
“We ask that you please allow us some time and space to grieve as a family and continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers,” the message states. “We thank you in advance for respecting our privacy during this difficult time.”
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Avant’s daughter, Nicole, a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, is married to Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer.