Suspect in Avant shooting enters not guilty plea

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — An ex-con pleaded not guilty Dec. 16 to murder and other counts in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant, wife of celebrated music executive Clarence Avant, during a robbery at the couple’s Trousdale Estates home in Beverly Hills.

Aariel Maynor of Los Angeles, 29, is charged in the slaying of Avant, 81, who was shot at about 2:25 a.m. Dec. 1 inside her home in the 1100 block of Maytor Place.

He is also accused of shooting at a security guard — who was not wounded — during the robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Maynor was arrested after allegedly accidentally shooting himself while breaking into a home in the 6000 block of Graciosa Drive in Hollywood Hills roughly an hour after Avant’s shooting, authorities said.

Maynor was charged Dec. 6 with 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.

The criminal complaint also includes an allegation that Maynor used an assault long barrel pistol during the crimes.

Los Angeles police responding to the burglary call found Maynor at the scene suffering from a gunshot wound to a foot, according to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

Stainbrook said Los Angeles police contacted Beverly Hills police, and detectives “collected evidence connecting Maynor” to the Avant shooting.

Among the evidence collected was “a suspected weapon” from the crime, described by police as an AR-15 rifle. Stainbrook said Maynor was on parole and has an “extensive” criminal record, which bars him from legally possessing a weapon.

According to court records, Maynor pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge in July 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.

“The evidence thus far shows that only one suspect was involved in the crime and the motive remains under investigation,” Stainbrook said.

Video from the Avant home showed a shattered sliding-glass door, indicative of a break-in. Avant died at a hospital following the shooting. Clarence Avant, 90, was not injured.

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.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October.

His wife 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 and was aboard member for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.



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