Jacqueline Avant Murder: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

jacqueline avant murder

Getty Jacqueline Avant.

A suspect is under arrest in the murder of Jacqueline Avant, a Beverly Hills philanthropist and the wife of a prominent music executive, Clarence Avant. She was found murdered at her family’s mansion in California on December 1, 2021.

The suspect is Aariel Maynor, and according to a police press release, investigators believe he accidentally shot himself in the foot after a burglary at a different location about an hour after the slaying. Maynor, who describes himself on Facebook as a self-employed electrician, is under arrest.

aariel maynor

FacebookAariel Maynor.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook spoke about the death in a news conference attended by the mayor and city council members.

“This is a difficult day for our city,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a random attack, but I can’t speculate on that,” Stainbrook said before the arrest, indicating that authorities are still investigating the motive. He said it’s not clear whether the suspect knew the Avant family’s background and prominence; it’s also not clear how long the suspect was inside the house.

“Someone went into the home, we just don’t know what … the purpose was behind it,” said Stainbrook. After he released Maynor’s name, Stainbrook said the motive was still not clear and was being investigated.

He described the murder as “extremely rare” for Beverly Hills. He said that crime is “generally low” in that wealthy community.

According to NBC News, it’s not clear whether Clarence Avant was home when his wife was murdered.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Jacqueline Avant Was Shot to Death

jacqueline avant

GettyJacqueline and Clarence Avant.

On December 1, 2021, at 2:23 a.m., police received a phone call about a shooting that had just occurred, Stainbrook said. They arrived and discovered a victim with a gunshot wound. The suspect was no longer on the scene.

The victim, 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, did not survive. “The Avant family’s contributions to the world of entertainment and to better communities across Los Angeles are unmatched,” said Stainbrook.

GettyA police officer crosses under police tape as members of the media gather near the 1100 block of Maytor place, where Jacqueline Avant’s house is at the top of the hill, in Beverly Hills, California, on December 1, 2021.

He offered condolences to Jacqueline’s husband Clarence Avant and their children, Alex and Nicole Avant. No one else was injured, Stainbrook said. He said a security guard was at the property when the murder happened. Stainbrook was asked whether Clarence Avant witnessed the shooting, but he didn’t answer the question.

In a second news conference, Stainbrook revealed that police were led to Maynor when he committed a home burglary an hour later. They found him in the backyard, where he had shot himself accidentally in the foot, the chief said. He was taken to the hospital and arrested, and police then found evidence connecting him to the Avant murder, including surveillance videos that showed his car leaving the area. It’s not clear whether the slaying was random or targeted, the chief indicated, and he believes Maynor acted alone and the threat to public safety is over.


2. The Avant Family Described Jacqueline Avant as Making an ‘Immeasurable Positive Contribution’ to the ‘Arts Community’

jacqueline avant

GettyJacqueline and Clarence Avant.

The police chief read a statement from the Avant family.

“The entire Avant family wishes to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and condolences for Jacqueline Avant,” it reads.

“Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”


3. The Motive Is Not Clear

jacqueline avant

GettyJacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant.

The motive is unknown. Stainbrook said the police would not speculate on the motive, including whether it was a robbery. He said he didn’t believe anything was taken, but that it was very early in the investigation.

“Crime of any type will not be tolerated in our city,” Stainbrook said. He noted that Beverly Hills is one of the safest cities in the country.

People with information were asked to call police. “We really need the help of the public,” he said. Stainbrook declined to speculate on the number of suspects and did not offer a suspect description. He would not say how the victim ended up with interacting with the suspect or suspects.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Avants are worth about $50 million.


4. Clarence Avant Is Known as the ‘Godfather of Black Music’

avants

GettyJacqueline and Clarence Avant.

According to The HistoryMakers, Clarence Avant was born on February 25, 1931, in North Carolina and moved to New Jersey as a teenager. While working as a lounge manager, he met a blues artist named Little Willie John, and Avant became his road manager.

The site describes Avant as a “great deal-maker,” who helped sell Stax Reccords and founded Sussex Records and then Tabu Productions.

He has worked with some of the world’s biggest artists, including Michael Jackson. In 1993, he became chairman of the board for Motown Records and created a South African investment partnership called New Age Beverages.

Clarence Avant is a recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Living Legends Foundation Award. He is a member of the NAACP Hall of Fame.

According to The HistoryMakers, he’s been dubbed “the godfather” for mentoring new artists. He’s also widely known as the “Godfather of Black Music.”

Variety reported in 2016 that he has mentored artists including L.A. Reid and Babyface, Sylvia Rhone, Jheryl Busby, and Jimmy Iovine. His friend Quincy Jones told Variety, “Everyone in this business has been by Clarence’s desk, if they’re smart.” He’s also held fundraisers for Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.


5. The Avants’ Daughter Is a Film Producer Married to a Netflix CEO

nicole avant

GettyHonoree Ted Sarandos (R) and Nicole Avant attend the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the Artists Awards 2017 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on November 9, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California.

According to the Associated Press, the Avants’ daughter is Nicole Avant, a film producer who served as the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas.

Her husband is Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

alex avant

Getty(L-R) Alex Avant, Quincy Jones and Amber Hay attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show after-party held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on November 16, 2006, in Hollywood, California.

Their son, Alex Avant, is an actor and producer.

“Jackie Avant was a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years,” former President Bill Clinton said on Twitter. “She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”

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