Man pleads guilty to murder in death of Jacqueline Avant 

LA County District Attorney George Gascón said the killing of Clarence Avant's wife was "a tragic loss felt by our entire community."

The man accused of murdering the beloved wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant late last year has pleaded guilty to the crime. 

Aariel Maynor, 30, has pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts of burglary, according to The Los Angeles Times, admitting to the December murder of prominent Los Angeles philanthropist Jacqueline Avant. 

Jacqueline Avant attends the National Museum of African American Music 2016 Black Music Honors in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

“This crime continues to shock the conscience,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Thursday. “Mrs. Avant’s death was a tragic loss felt by our entire community.”

According to police, Maynor broke into the Avant’s Trousdale Estates, Beverly Hills, home in the early morning hours of Dec. 1. He encountered Mrs. Avant and opened fire, fatally wounding the 81-year-old philanthropist. As he fled, he also shot at a security guard, who was not injured. 

Maynor faces more than 100 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 30. He has two previous criminal convictions, so per California’s three-strikes law, he will not be eligible for parole. 

His guilty plea will spare the Avant family the ordeal of a high-profile criminal trial. 

“It is still hard to believe she is gone for no reason. We are comforted this person has pled guilty to this most horrendous act,” Michael Lawson, a friend of the Avant family and president of the Los Angeles Urban League, told The Times. “We are all still mourning this senseless loss. I personally can only hope this is of some small solace to Clarence and his family.”

Maynor had been paroled from prison only three months prior to his fateful invasion of the Avant’s home. He had two prior convictions for robbery and causing great bodily injury, according to the report. 

The Times notes that it is unclear why Maynor targeted the Avants’ home or if he knew whose home he had invaded. 

Clarence Avant, 91, was the subject of an acclaimed 2019 Netflix documentary, The Black Godfather. His longtime wife was a well-known philanthropist who worked on behalf of children’s causes and with the Urban League in South Los Angeles.

The Avants have two children, Nicole, a former United States ambassador to the island of Barbados and wife of Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, and Alex, a noted film producer and actor. 

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