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Suspect Charged In Jaqueline Avant’s Beverly Hills Home Invasion Murder

Jacqueline Avant’s “generosity and good will touched so many lives,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said after announcing murder charges were filed against her alleged killer, Aariel Maynor.

By Dorian Geiger
Jacqueline Clarence Avant G

The 29-year-old California man arrested last week in the home invasion killing of philanthropist Jaqueline Avant has officially been charged with her murder, prosecutors announced.

Aariel Maynor was charged with one count of murder and attempted murder in Avant’s death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release issued on Monday. 

Maynor is accused of fatally shooting Avant on Dec. 1 while burglarizing the Beverly Hills home the 81-year-old shared with her husband, the legendary music executive Clarence Avant. 

Jacqueline Avant was rushed to hospital where she later died, officials said. Clarence Avant, a recent Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, was also home during the home invasion, but wasn’t injured during the deadly attack.  

According to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com, Maynor exchanged gunfire with the couple’s security guard, as well, who was unharmed in the incident. The newly filed charging documents also stated Maynor brandished a long-barrel assault pistol during the attack.

“Mrs. Avant was a treasured member of our community,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a prepared statement. “Her generosity and good will touched so many lives. My office is working closely with the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments in the investigation and prosecution of this case. We must continue to work together to hold accountable the people who commit violent crimes against our community.”

Maynor, who was arrested after fleeing Avant’s home, later “accidentally” shot himself in the foot with an AR-15 rifle during a separate burglary at another home in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive Hollywood Hills, prosecutors said. The Los Angeles man was also charged with a firearms violation as a felony and two counts of residential burglary with a person present.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook previously said evidence collected from the scene of the second alleged burglary connected him to Avant’s murder.

"The evidence thus far shows that only one suspect was involved in the crime and the motive remains under investigation,'' Stainbrook said in a statement last week. "Our focus now has transitioned from finding a suspect to a continuing investigation that will lead to a successful prosecution.'' 

The Beverly Hills Police Department, who are leading the investigation into Avant’s slaying, didn’t release additional information regarding the open investigation this week. 

Jacqueline Avant sat on the board of directors at the University of California Los Angeles’ International Student Center and was also president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for a local Los Angeles child care center, according to KTLA. She also served on boards for the Pacific Asia Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s East Asian Art Council. Avant was born in Jamaica, Queens, according to her IMDB biography. 

After news of Avant's death spread online last week, condolences poured in on social media from a wide array of celebrities, music icons, star athletes, and former U.S. presidents.

“Grace is one of those things you can’t predict,” Avant’s friend Oprah Winfrey told Variety. “It doesn’t just come, it shows up and blesses you. That is how you always felt if you were in Jacquie Avant’s presence. She showed up and you were blessed.”

Music producer Pharrell Williams also described her as a “matriarch” of the Black community.

“But all other communities looked at her as a shining, living example of elegance,” Williams said. “Someone beyond everything that they had accumulated whose wealth was experience.”

Maynor was expected to be arraigned in the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles County Superior on Tuesday, officials said, however, proceedings were delayed while the 29-year-old remains hospitalized, KABC-TV reported. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal counsel.

Maynor has past arrests for robbery, domestic violence, and grand theft auto.

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