The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Entertainment

September 28, 2012

Warning signs seen before actor's violent end



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Probation officials openly worried about actor Johnny Lewis' mental health and his danger to others in recent months, and this week their worst fears came true.

The man who died a violent death on "Sons of Anarchy" three years ago apparently beat and strangled his landlady and attacked neighbors before falling or leaping to his own death in neighborhood near Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon.

They were the final violent acts of a man who in the previous 10 months had been repeatedly arrested, sent to counseling and had left jail only five days before his demise.

Court records and his attorney detailed attempts to help Lewis but not in time to help 81-year-old Catherine Davis, who neighbors reported screaming inside a home near the outskirts of Los Angeles' Griffith Park. The home had been ransacked, glass was shattered and a dead cat was also found inside, and Lewis' body was found in the driveway.

Lewis' cause of death is pending toxicology results, Coroner's investigative division Lt. Fred Corral said Thursday evening. Davis died from blunt head trauma and manual strangulation, he said.

The deaths came four months after a probation officer expressed grave concerns about Lewis' mental health, writing that he was "very concerned for the well-being of not only the community but that of the defendant."

Court records detail Lewis' descent from January 2012, when he attacked two men and hit them in the head with a bottle, through August, when he acted as his own attorney and pleaded no contest to felony assault.

By that point he had been arrested three times for incidents ranging from trying to break into an occupied home in Santa Monica, Calif., to resisting arrest. He had been sent to treatment programs that specialized in drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental illness.

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