Aariel Maynor, 30, the suspect arrested in the murder of Beverly Hills philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, 81, has pleaded guilty to the murder and other charges. Maynor is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30. He faces up to 170 years in prison.
“This crime continues to shock the conscience. Mrs. Avant’s death was a tragic loss felt by our entire community,” District Attorney Gascón said in a statement. “In this case, the defendant is facing 170 years to life in prison and is ineligible for elderly parole. Our Bureau of Victim Services will continue to be in contact with the family and their representatives to offer trauma-informed services.”
Maynor shot and killed Avant at her home in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood in the early morning of Dec. 1. Along with Avant, Maynor also shot at a security guard on the property.
Maynor then broke into a house in the Hollywood Hills later that same morning. In the process of stealing items from the home, he accidentally shot himself in the foot. Police say they found Maynor incapacitated in the backyard of the home.
Mayor has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, in addition to two counts of first-degree residential burglary with person present.
By the time he shot Avant on Dec. 1, Maynor had spent nearly 10 years in prison for two separate charges of second-degree robbery, with additional charges of domestic violence, grand theft, and inflicting great bodily injury. Just months prior to December, Maynor was released on parole from his latest stint in prison for second degree robbery with enhancements for a prior felony.
Maynor made occasional social media posts from prison. In January 2017, he wrote on Facebook, “This my last year. I can’t wait to do big things.” A year later, in March, he marked his release with another post. “Just got out of prison Saturday,” he wrote.
The release was short-lived. On Nov. 1, 2018, he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. Under California’s Three Strikes law, second strike offenders receive doubled sentences, giving him a sentence of four years. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office confirmed to the Courier that “the strike was used to double his sentence.”
Maynor was released on parole on Sept. 1, 2021, “after serving his full sentence as defined by law,” according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Information Officer Joe Orlando. This included credit for time-served. He was listed as transient while on parole.
The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) led the investigation into Maynor. The murder came just days after Mark Stainbrook assumed the role of Police Chief.
“We are pleased to see Maynor will remain behind bars where he belongs. Our thoughts continue to be with the Avant family,” Stainbrook said in a statement.
Avant was an active philanthropist, serving as the president of the Neighbors of Watts, the support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, in 1975, the entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction, and she sat on the board of directors for International Student Center at UCLA in 1980. She sat on the board of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
The family of Avant released a statement shortly after her death.
“The entire Avant family wishes to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support, and condolences for Jacqueline Avant,” the statement said. “Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills, who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”