A beloved actor whose character died a violent death on the hit TV show "Sons of Anarchy," reportedly fell to his own death Wednesday after allegedly beating to death his 81-year-old landlady, police said.
Jonathan Kendrick Lewis (Johnny Lewis), who played prospect biker Kip "Half-Sack" Epps in the hit FX show, was found lying in his driveway in a large pool of blood, while a woman identified as Catherine Chabot Davis was found dead inside her home, according to Los Angeles police, The Los Angeles Times reported..
Police were called to the 3600 block of Lowry Road in the usually quiet neighborhood near Griffith Park about 10:40 a.m. Wednesday morning after receiving several calls from neighbors reporting hearing a woman screaming next door, said Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith,the AP reported.
According to the LA Times, the owner of a home next to Davis', who asked not to be identified, said Lewis approached him that morning wearing only jeans and introduced himself as "John," a new neighbor.
Witnesses told police they saw Lewis run from the woman’s home, hop his next door neighbor's fence and, without warning, began attacking a painter in the neighbor’s backyard, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Seeing this, the neighbor's wife ran to intervene, the unidentified neighbor said, and started screaming for help. The neighbor then went outside and joined the fray, said the Times.
He said Lewis was impervious to the blows he took — that it was like “hitting him with a fly swatter.”
After finally managing to shake Lewis off, the neighbor, his wife and the painter ran into the house. It took all three barricaded against the door to keep him out, the neighbor said, says the LA paper.
By the time police arrived to the scene, Lewis, who rented a room at the home, was found outside dead in Davis' driveway in a large pool of blood about six feet from a wall.
Investigators said they believe Lewis, who neighbors spotted climbing atop the home, died after falling or jumping to the ground, trying to escape police whose blaring sirens he heard approaching,CNN reported.
Police do not believe he was pushed because there was no one around to push him,
Smith told, NBCLA.
Nicest lady I ever met in my life
Davis, who rented rooms in her six bedroom home to actors and directors who needed a temporary place to stay between filming movies, died from "blunt head trauma and strangulation," according to preliminary findings from the autopsy conducted Thursday, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said, CNN reports.
Investigators say they believe Lewis allegedly beat the woman to death. The house "appeared to have been ransacked," with furniture broken, Smith said.
Screenshot via Twitter
Catherine Chabot Davis shown with her cat Jessie. Both were found beaten to death, with actor Johnny Lewis alleged as the only suspect.
Davis was found dead on the second floor of the three-level house in a "gruesome scene," with her dead cat, Jessie nearby — also beaten to death, police said.
The 26-year-old actor is the only suspect, says Smith. The motive for murder at this time remains unknown. "It’s a terrible tragedy as far as we’re concerned and were digging into the bottom of it," the LAPD spokesman told People.
David Thoresen, who helped with upkeep for Davis' home for five years, told CNN that Davis was a small woman, standing no more than 5-feet, 3-inches tall.
"She was the happiest, nicest lady I ever met in my life," Thoresen said. "I loved Kathy."
Recent criminal history
Lewis pleaded no contest Aug. 8 to one count of assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 365 days in Los Angeles County jail with three years of probation, a district attorney's office spokeswoman said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Nine days later, on Aug. 17 he pleaded no contest to a burglary charge in separate case and received 291 days in jail, according to court records, The Times said.
But given hundreds of days credit for time already served and good behavior, Lewis was released from Los Angeles County jail at 4:05 p.m. on Sept. 21. -- five days prior to the tragic events, People reported.
Were drugs involved?
It's also unclear whether drugs or alcohol were involved. As a condition of his probation in both cases, he was ordered not to use narcotics. He also enrolled in a drug, alcohol and psychiatric treatment program over the summer, the records show.
Nevertheless, investigators are looking into whether Lewis may have been under the influence of C2-I — a new designer drug known as "smiles" — during the altercation, sources said. The illegal drug causes hallucinogenic effects and is usually sold in tablets or powder form, which users often mix with chocolate before eating.
Lewis had a career spanning more than a decade, The Times reported. Best known for his two-season role as Kip "Half-Sack" Epps on "Sons of Anarchy," Lewis credits included appearances on "The O.C.," "Criminal Minds" and "The Guardian." The Los Angeles native also had several film roles, including a part in "The Runaways" and "Raise Your Voice," starring Hilary Duff.
Screenshot via YouTube
Jonathan "Johnny" Kendrick Lewis, who played a biker prospect on the FX hit TV show, "Sons of Anarchy" shown with singer Katy Perry.
He most recently played a prisoner in "186 Dollars to Freedom," released this month.
He dated Singer Katy Perry from 2005 to 2006, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Lewis' attorney Jonathan Mandel on Thursday declined to immediately comment on Lewis's criminal history or possible drug problems citing consideration of client confidentiality requirements, The AP said. But Mandel did say said he was "surprised" and "baffled" by the deaths.
"Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, however, said he was not surprised by the tragic events. This morning, Sutter released this online statement:
"It was a tragic end for an extremely talented guy, who unfortunately had lost his way. i wish i could say that i was shocked by the events last night, but i was not. i am deeply sorry that an innocent life had to be thrown into his destructive path. yes, it's day of mourning, but it's also a day of awareness and gratitude. sadly, some of us carry the message by dying."
Our condolences go out to everyone impacted by this tragedy.