Aariel Maynor, the 30-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing Beverly Hills philanthropist Jaqueline Avant, has been sentenced to 190 years to life for Avant’s murder and the attempted murder of her security guard on Dec. 1. Prosecutors claimed that Maynor shot the 81-year-old while attempting to rob her Trousdale Estates home.
“Today marks the end of a tragic case that rocked our community. Because of a completely senseless act, Los Angeles lost Jacqueline Avant, a community leader and philanthropist. Her murder sent shockwaves through our community, prompting fear, concern and a tremendous sense of loss,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “Given the sentence today, Mr. Maynor will be ineligible for early parole, and will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Gascón, whose office secured the guilty plea from Maynor, said the “conclusion of this case also prevents a painful and lengthy process of trial for the Avant family, a process that can be traumatizing.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathryn Solorzano handed down a sentence on April 19 for three life terms in prison, saying Maynor will have to serve a minimum of 150 years. She added an additional 40 years for weapons violations.
In issuing the punishment at the sentencing hearing, Solorzano described Maynor as a “serious danger to society” who had targeted a “completely vulnerable victim.”
Sitting in a wheelchair in court, Maynor appeared stoic as Solorazao passed judgment.
Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila presented the court with audio recordings of two phone calls Maynor made from jail in which he laughed about the murder and bragged that he would not receive the death penalty or life without parole because of changes implemented by Gascón.
“I’m gonna get out of jail,” Maynor said on the call, according to a prosecution sentencing memorandum. “I’ll probably do like 20 25, get out, you feel me?”
Avila detailed how Avant was shot in the back around 2 a.m. after confronting Maynor, who then fired “multiple shots” at a security guard as he escaped to a vehicle. Later that same morning, Maynor broke into a Hollywood Hills home. In the process of burglarizing the residence, he shot himself in the foot with the same AR-15 style rifle used to kill Avant.
According to the memo, phone records indicated that Maynor had researched the Avants and their home address prior to the murder. Avant’s husband, Clarence, is a titanic figure in the music industry referred to as the “Godfather of Black Music.”
Avila read a statement in court on behalf of Avant’s daughter, former Ambassador and film producer Nicole Avant. “There are no words to describe the cruel and vicious acts of the defendant. We are shattered,” the statement read. “My mother devoted every cell of her body to help others. To have her life taken so brutally, is devastating.”
“The grief is immeasurable,” Nicole’s statement said. Marcus Huntley, an attorney representing Maynor, said at the hearing that Maynor had a turbulent childhood characterized by mistreatment in the foster care system.
“His upbringing is how we got to this situation,” Huntley said.
Gascón referred to the phone calls in a briefing following the hearing, saying that Maynor showed “little or no remorse” for the crime.
“In this case, Mr. Maynor made a series of jail calls that speak to no remorse and that are very disturbing in nature and also speaks in part to why the sentence today is appropriate given the circumstances,” he said.
Maynor represented an indictment of the carceral system and how it “fails our communities,” Gascón said at a briefing following the sentencing.
“Right now, people go to prison and, in essence, they get a degree in crime. It’s no surprise that the outcomes make us less safe,” he said.
Maynor had been in and out of prison since the age of 12, Gascón said. As previously reported by the Courier, 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.
“He was released with no reentry program and no path for success,” Gascón said. “This case highlights the futility of our system. We can punish Mr. Maynor, but never do other things that would perhaps have led to a different outcome.”
Chief Mark Stainbrook, who had previously expressed concern over the prosecution of Maynor under Gascón, said that he was satisfied with the resolution.
“We are content with the outcome of the criminal case against Aariel Maynor for the killing of Jacqueline Avant,” he said in a statement to the Courier. “Our hearts are with the Avant family as they continue to process this horrific tragedy.”
Avant’s murder and Mayor’s subsequent arrest came only days after Stainbrook’s appointment to the role of police chief. Stainbrook has received praise from city officials for his handling of the case.
The family of Avant made a recent and rare public appearance at the installation ceremony of Mayor Lili Bosse, including Nicole, Clarence Avant, and Nicole’s husband, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Nicole joined Bosse on stage to swear in the mayor, a personal friend.
The Avant-Serandos families issued a joint statement following the sentencing, which read:
“The Avant-Sarandos Families are grateful to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook and the Beverly Hills Police Department, Beverly Hills Fire Department and Paramedics, Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division, Attorney Shawn Holley, Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse, and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila for their unwavering dedication to public service and for the swift justice of our beloved Jacqueline Avant.”
In a statement to the Courier following the sentencing, Bosse reiterated her sympathies for the family. She also praised the Beverly Hills Police Department.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department worked tirelessly to gather evidence, conduct a thorough investigation and bring this suspect to justice,” she said.
An outspoken proponent of the effort to recall Gascón, Bosse thanked the BHPD for its role in securing a guilty plea, avoiding “a trial in the troubling era of George Gascón.”
With City News Service