Suspect in Jacqueline Avant Killing Changes Plea to Guilty

Aariel Maynor, 30, admitted to shooting Avant inside her home on Dec. 1

Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant (Getty Images)
Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant (Getty Images)

Aariel Maynor, a Los Angeles parolee charged in the shooting death of Jacqueline Avant, the 81-year-old philanthropist and wife of music executive Clarence Avant, has pleaded guilty to murder and other counts.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón made the announcement Thursday, saying Maynor entered his plea in open court. According to local news reports, Maynor arrived in the courtroom in a wheelchair and was wearing a suicide-prevention vest.

“This crime continues to shock the conscience. Mrs. Avant’s death was a tragic loss felt by our entire community,” Gascón stated in a press release. “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.”

On Dec. 1 at approximately 2:25 a.m., Avant was shot inside her Beverly Hills home during a robbery. Later that morning, Los Angeles police said they arrested Maynor after he shot himself in the foot while breaking into another home in the nearby Hollywood Hills.

Maynor, who already had an “extensive” criminal record, was charged Dec. 6 with one count each of first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon as well as two counts of first-degree residential burglary with a person present.

He initially pleaded not guilty on Dec. 17, but has now admitted to killing Avant and shooting at a security guard (who was not injured) while committing the robbery. He also admitted to using an assault long barrel pistol during the crimes, as well as to prior robbery convictions from 2013 and 2018.

Maynor has been on parole since Sept. 2021, and as a convicted felon was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30 in Department W31 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch.