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Killer of Beverly Hills philanthropist Jacqueline Avant gets life in prison

The parolee targeted the Avant residence and later laughed about the murder in a recorded jail call.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — The man who last month pleaded guilty to murdering Jacqueline Avant, the 81-year-old philanthropist and wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, during a burglary attempt at the couple's Beverly Hills home was sentenced to life in prison.

Aariel Maynor, 30, received four consecutive life sentences at his sentencing Tuesday in Los Angeles for the murder Avant, the attempted murder of a security guard, and two counts of residential burglary with people present. After he fatally shot Avant this past December, Maynor went to another house in the Hollywood Hills where he shot himself in the foot during a second botched burglary.

The murder of Avant, for decades a high-profile fundraiser for Black politicians in LA and California and a board member of charitable organizations such as the UCLA International Student Center, was one of several headline-grabbing crimes that rocked the affluent enclave in 2021. In February, two South LA gang members were sentenced to 10 years in prison for an armed, lunch-time robbery at a posh Beverly Hills restaurant.

"He is a serious danger to society," LA County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Solorzano said of Maynor at Tuesday's hearing.

She imposed the life sentences on the separate counts under California's three-strikes law for habitual offenders, citing Maynor's previous convictions for serious felonies, and stipulated that he'll have to serve a minimum of 150 years in prison.

A letter from Avant's daughter read in court said the family was shattered by her murder because she had been a vibrant, active and critical support for both her family and the community.

"The trauma we've been living through is immeasurable," Nicole Avant said in the letter.

A prosecutor with the LA County District Attorney's office played recorded phone calls from jail at the hearing in which Maynor can be heard giggling about his crimes and telling a friend that he plans on getting a cellphone as soon as he's in prison, which is of course illegal.

The search history on Maynor's phone showed he had targeted the Avant's residence, according to the prosecutor. Clarence Avant, 91, known as the Godfather of Black music, has worked with scores of Black artists as manager and record label executive.

Maynor, who was on parole at the time of the murder, called 911 later that night after shooting himself in the foot during the second home robbery attempt. A 17-year-old girl was at home at the Hollywood Hills house and called the police, after which Maynor fled and accidentally shot himself. He gave a fictitious story on the 911 call and was very concerned he was going to bleed to death, according to the prosecution.

Maynor's lawyer said at the sentencing his client understood he was never going to leave prison. He cited some of Maynor's personal history, such as his foster care, and the gang and drug culture he grew up with, which he said is a very different world than more fortunate people grow up in, and which needs to be addressed to prevent similar crimes to continue from occurring.

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