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A parolee who murdered 81-year-old philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, the wife of a legendary music executive, was sentenced Tuesday to 190 years in a California prison.
Aariel Maynor, 30, pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in Los Angeles Superior Court last month and admitted he used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle to shoot Ms Avant in her Beverly Hills home December 1 and fired several rounds at her security guard as he fled.
Ms Avant was married to Clarence Avant, a Grammy winner known as the “Godfather of Black Music” for mentoring and helping the careers of artists including Bill Withers, Little Willie John, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Maynor shot Ms Avant in the back when she surprised him after he broke into the couple’s house during a burglary attempt in which he hoped to steal US$50,000, prosecutors said.
After fleeing the scene, he broke into a home in the Hollywood Hills and then accidentally shot himself in the foot as he was leaving.
Ms Avant used her money for charities that helped low-income neighbourhoods such as Watts and South Los Angeles. She was on the board of the International Student Centre at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Prosecutors said Maynor had searched for information on Clarence Avant and the couple’s address the day before the killing.
Maynor showed no remorse for the slaying, bragging to a friend on a jail phone call about all the news stories about him and laughing, according to a court document filed by Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila.
“You think my mama’s seen that?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but that’s not funny,” the woman, who was not identified, said.
“Why are you laughin’? That’s somebody’s life. That’s somebody’s family member.”
The Avants were married for 54 years and had two children, Alexander Du Bois Avant and Nicole Avant, a film producer and former US ambassador to the Bahamas who is married to Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.
After Ms Avant’s death, tributes were paid to her and her charitable work by former President Bill Clinton, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Quincy Jones.
Maynor, who was on parole for his second robbery conviction, bragged to a friend during a jail call that he expected a shorter sentence because prosecutors were not seeking life without parole.
“I’m gonna get out of jail. I’ll probably do like 20 … 25, get out, you feel me?” he said.
Under District Attorney George Gascón, the office did not seek a special circumstance allegation that the killing was committed in the act of a burglary, which could have led to a possible sentence of life without parole.
Instead, prosecutors sought an enhanced penalty under the Three Strikes law where a third serious or violent felony can trigger a life sentence.