A man arrested in the shooting death of 81-year-old Los Angeles philanthropist Jacqueline Avant pleaded guilty Thursday to murder and other crimes.
Aariel Maynor of Los Angeles, 30, could face up to 170 years to life when he is sentenced March 30.
Avant, the wife of famed music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed during a Dec. 1 robbery at the couple's Trousdale Estates home in Beverly Hills. Police said Maynor had accidentally shot himself in the foot before he was arrested in the backyard of a Hollywood home about two hours after the shooting at the Avants' home.
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Avant died at a hospital. Her husband was not injured.
“This crime continues to shock the conscience. Mrs. Avant’s death was a tragic loss felt by our entire community,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “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 also admitted shooting at a security guard -- who was not wounded -- during the robbery.
He appeared in court in a wheelchair and wearing a protective vest. He pleaded guilty to one count each of murder, attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of residential burglary with a person present.
He also admitted allegations of using an assault long barrel pistol during the crimes. He also admitted prior robbery convictions from 2013 and 2018.
Judge Kathryn Solorzano noted that Maynor had been paroled in September 2021, just months before Avant's killing.
According to court records, Maynor pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge in July of 2013 and was placed on probation, but later that year, he pleaded no contest to a robbery charge and was sentenced to five years in prison. He also has a grand theft conviction from 2010, according to court records.
Avant’s shooting death led to an outpouring of grief by those who knew her in Los Angeles and beyond.
Jacqueline Avant served as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group that focused on child care. She was also on the board of directors of UCLA's International Student Center. She was also a member of the board for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Clarence Avant is known as the Godfather of Black Music, and has been regularly celebrated by artists such as Jay-Z and Diddy, L.A. Reid and Babyface. He began as a talent manager in the 1950s, worked at Venture Records in Southern California and founded L.A.-based Sussex Records and Avant Garde Broadcasting.
Jacqueline and Clarence Avant have two grown children -- Nicole and Alexander. Nicole Avant, a film producer who served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas during President Barack Obama's administration, is the wife of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. She also served as a co-producer on the Netflix film "The Black Godfather,'' a documentary about her father's life and career.