Updated at 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 6: The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged defendant Aariel Maynor on Dec. 6 with murder, attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as two counts of residential burglary with a person present.
A 29-year-old male suspect who police described as a parolee has been arrested for the murder of Jacqueline Avant on Dec. 1 at her home in Trousdale Estates.
Beverly Hills Police Department Chief Mark Stainbrook announced the arrest at a press conference on Dec. 2 and said it appears Avant was shot and killed during a burglary. The suspect, identified as Aariel Maynor, of Los Angeles, was arrested after allegedly committing another burglary in the Hollywood Hills a little more than hour after Avant was shot. Stainbrook said Maynor shot himself in the foot during the second burglary and was arrested while hiding in the backyard of a residence in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive. Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Blake Chow said Hollywood Division officers recovered an AR-15 rifle at the scene of the second burglary. Maynor is hospitalized and remains in law enforcement custody. He will be formally charged with murder once doctors release him, Stainbrook added.
The BHPD has assumed responsibility for investigations at both crime scenes. Avant, 81, a philanthropist and wife of music producer Clarence Avant, was shot at 2:23 a.m. at her home in the 1100 block of Maytor Place. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, police said. Clarence Avant was home when the shooting occurred but was not injured. An unarmed private security guard was also at the residence.
Stainbrook said a collaboration between the BHPD and LAPD led to the identification of the suspect as allegedly being involved in the murder of Avant. He said surveillance cameras, including cameras operated by the city of Beverly Hills, captured footage of a vehicle allegedly driven by Maynor heading east out of the city shortly after the shooting. Hollywood Division personnel had been alerted about the shooting in Beverly Hills and notified the BHPD about Maynor’s arrest. BHPD authorities went to the Hollywood Division and collected evidence, including the rifle. Stainbrook said the gun was the same caliber as the one used in Avant’s murder. Ballistic testing will be used to confirm whether or not is it the same weapon.
“Our focus now has transitioned from finding a suspect to a continuing investigation that will lead to a successful prosecution,” Stainbrook said. “Mrs. Avant’s death is an incredible loss for our community. Our department has been in contact with the Avant family and we continue to offer our support.”
Stainbrook said Maynor has an extensive criminal record and was on parole, although he declined to elaborate. He said it remains under investigation if the suspect targeted Avant’s residence or randomly chose the location. Stainbrook said detectives are working to put together a timeline of Maynor’s whereabouts prior to the shooting. Authorities also have custody of the vehicle Maynor was driving.
“The investigation leads us to believe there is no further threat to public safety. The evidence thus far shows that only one suspect was involved in the crime and the motive remains under investigation,” Stainbrook said.
Chow said officers found evidence that a burglary had occurred at the scene in the Hollywood Hills and evidence that the suspect shot himself in the foot outside the house. Stainbrook did not know if the gun was stolen and had no further information about how Maynor acquired the rifle.
The chief said the investigation remains ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available. Stainbrook also stressed that Beverly Hills remains safe.
“To the Beverly Hills community, let me reassure you, this is one of the most protected and patrolled cities in the world,” he added. “Crimes of any kind will not be tolerated here. Let this be a message to anyone thinking of committing a crime in Beverly Hills, you will be caught and brought to justice.”
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