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Man describes earlier assault by ‘Sons of Anarchy’ actor

The "Sons of Anarchy" actor who police believe killed his 81-year-old landlady in Los Feliz broke into a Northridge town home in January — barefoot and shirtless — and attacked residents inside, one of the victims said.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said he was at home in the early-morning of Jan. 3 when he discovered Johnny Lewis, 28, in an upstairs room, holding an empty Perrier bottle.

Lewis, who was wearing only his pajama bottoms, said he was checking the home to see if everything was OK because he had spotted an intruder.

When the man tried to force Lewis to leave, Lewis attacked him and others in the town home with a Perrier bottle.

"My brother-in-law hit him in the head many times," the man said. "He didn't even blink."

Lewis fought back, biting and beating their heads with the bottle, according to court records.

When the man saw the news of the fatal attack in Los Feliz, he said he recognized Lewis as the same man who attacked his family.

"I feel sorry for these kinds of people who fall into the drugs," he said. "It's heartbreaking."

Lewis was arrested for the Northridge assault and pleaded no contest in August. He was sentenced to one year in jail. He also spent 30 days at Ridgeview Ranch in Altadena, described on its website as a "luxurious" residential rehab center, where he was treated for mental illness and substance abuse.

He was released from jail Friday, five days before police say he attacked Catherine Davis at her Los Feliz home.

Los Angeles police were called to the 3600 block of Lowry Road about 10:40 a.m. after receiving several calls reporting a "screaming woman" and three men fighting in the usually quiet neighborhood near Griffith Park.

Lewis allegedly climbed a wall and fought with a house painter at a neighboring residence before going back to Davis' home, police said. He then scaled the wall again to fight with the painter and the owner of the second house, Los Angeles police Sgt. Frank Preciado said.

The neighbor, his wife and a painter ran into the house after managing to shake Lewis. It took all three barricaded against the door to keep him out.

When police arrived, Lewis was dead in Davis' driveway about six feet from a wall. They later found Davis' body in her home.

Investigators said they believe Lewis died after falling from a nearby roof or balcony and Davis died from blunt force trauma. Coroner's officials said no official causes of death had been determined.

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.

Best known for his two-season role as Kip "Half-Sack" Epps on "Sons of Anarchy," Lewis credits include 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.

ALSO:

School bus driver fatally hits 75-year-old, arrested on DUI

Unruly male model restrained after disrupting flight, FBI says

Chef who said he 'cooked' wife guilty of second-degree murder

— Andrew Blankstein, Angel Jennings and Kate Mather

L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

Carmageddon II: Organizers 'confident' triathlon will run smoothly

About 2,500 people will storm the Westside on Sunday morning, smack in the middle of a freeway closure some have dubbed Carmageddon II.

It’s not ideal timing, but a spokeswoman with the Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles says the date was picked 11 months ago. Now, with the closure of a 10-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway also slated for this weekend, she said organizers will have to “play the hand they were dealt.”

“We’re extremely confident that for our event, things will go smoothly,” said Jan Fambro, spokeswoman for the event.

In the run-up to another closure of one of the nation’s busiest freeways, officials have acknowledged that the timing of this construction -- in September versus July -- could mean more cars on the road. School is in session this time around, and officials have pointed to the triathlon as one example of an event that wasn’t on the calendar during Carmageddon I.

Fambro said there were several scheduling constraints that required organizers to hold the event this weekend, including the availability of L.A. Live. The athletes will swim, bike and run from Venice Beach to L.A. Live starting just after 7 a.m. Sunday and ending in the early afternoon. That means racers and spectators will likely be hitting the road for the starting line before most of Los Angeles is awake.

Participants are being encouraged to take a shuttle from L.A. Live to Venice Beach, though Fambro emphasized that the freeway closure “has no impact” on the triathlon route. She added that there has been no drop-off in registration, and there have been no questions about the 405 closure on the race’s Facebook page or calls about it to the production office.     

“This is not the worst thing that could happen to us,” Fambro said.

ALSO:

Drivers urged to stay in L.A. for Carmageddon II

Carmageddon II: Baseball, soccer on tap during closure

Rain wouldn't delay Carmageddon weekend's 405 Freeway closure  

-- Matt Stevens

Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter and Google+

Andy Williams, savior of the Hollywood sign

Reader Mike Sims emailed to point out that Andy Williams, who died Tuesday at 84, should also be remembered as one of the nine who helped save the Hollywood sign:
 
“I was running the Hollywood Chamber in those days -- 1978 -- and was on stage at [Hugh] Hefner's Hollywood Sign Party when Mr. Williams stood up at his table and asked to sponsor the ‘W.’ Alice Cooper had started the letter sponsoring by requesting one of the 'O's in honor of Groucho Marx. Williams, Cooper and the others each donated $27,777.77 and their generosity still sits tall and proud 34 years later.”

Gloria Swanson sponsored a complete makeover of the sign in 1973 but five years later termites had infested the wooden letters, an “O” had tumbled down Mt. Lee and arsonists had set fire to the bottom of an “L,”  according to the Hollywood Sign Trust.

Photos: Andy Williams | 1927-2012

The sign needed to be rebuilt, at a cost of $250,000 -- more than 10 times what it initially cost to construct in 1923. For throwing the lavish summer fundraiser at his Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, the chamber “gave” Hefner the “Y.” By fall 1978, the flimsy old sign had been replaced by one with baked-enamel letters fortified with tons of concrete and steel.

Rounding out the “Hollywood nine”: publisher Terrence Donnelly, movie producer Giovanni Mazza, Les Kelley of the Kelley Blue Book, Angels owner Gene Autry, Warner Bros. Records, and businessman Dennis Lidtke.

Hefner called the sign “our Eiffel Tower” and Williams agreed, telling The Times in 1979: “I think it’s important to have some monuments synonymous with Hollywood.”

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Andy Williams, 84, 'Moon River' singer

When Andy Williams dubbed Lauren Bacall

Appreciation: Andy Williams defined '60s generational divide

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Sen. Curren Price latest state lawmaker to seek L.A. council seat

State. Sen. Curren Price. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

State Sen. Curren D. Price Jr. has filed papers to seek the Los Angeles City Council seat occupied by Councilwoman Jan Perry, becoming the second Sacramento lawmaker to pursue that post and the sixth to run for office in the March municipal election.

Price (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement that, if elected, he would focus on bringing more jobs and homes to Perry’s district, which takes in a sliver of downtown and the eastern section of South Los Angeles. "I am very familiar with the opportunities and obstacles that exist in this district, almost one-third of which is in the 26th Senate District, which I now represent," he said.

Price, 61, had been living in Baldwin Hills in the district represented by Councilman Bernard C. Parks. He and his wife will move into a home in Perry's district on Oct. 1, said Price spokeswoman Fahizah Alim.

Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) has already spent months on a campaign to replace Perry, who is running for mayor and must leave because of term limits. Twelve others have taken steps to seek the seat, including LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara; school teacher Ron Gochez; David Roberts, a former aide to Parks; and Ana Cubas, a former aide to Councilman Jose Huizar.

Continue reading »

'Sons of Anarchy' creator: Actor was on 'destructive path'

The "Sons of Anarchy" actor who police say killed his 81-year-old landlady in Los Feliz before falling to his death "unfortunately had lost his way," the series' creator said Thursday.

"it was a tragic end for an extremely talented guy, who unfortunately had lost his way," Kurt Sutter tweeted. "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 in his destructive path."

"yes, it's day or mourning, but it's also a day of awareness and gratitude," the message continued. "sadly, some of us carry the message by dying."

Investigators have identified Johnny Lewis, 28, as the sole suspect in the death of Catherine Davis after a bizarre altercation Wednesday at her Los Feliz home, where Davis had rented a room to the actor. Lewis was later found dead in the driveway.

He was released from Los Angeles County jail five days prior, despite two convictions in August that earned sentences of significant jail time, online jail records showed.

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. Nine days later, he pleaded no contest to a burglary charge in separate case and received 291 days in jail.

It was not immediately clear why he was released from jail.

Los Angeles police were called to the 3600 block of Lowry Road about 10:40 a.m. after receiving several calls reporting a "screaming woman" and three men fighting in the usually quiet neighborhood near Griffith Park.

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. Lewis left but returned about 15 minutes later, when he hopped a fence and began attacking a painter in the neighbor's yard, the neighbor said.

The neighbor's wife ran to intervene, he said, and started screaming for help. The neighbor then went outside and joined the fray. He said Lewis was impervious to the blows he took — that it was like “hitting him with a fly swatter.”

The neighbor, his wife and the painter ran into the house after managing to shake Lewis. It took all three barricaded against the door to keep him out, the neighbor said.

When police arrived, Lewis was dead in Davis' driveway about six feet from a wall. They later found Davis' body in her home.

Investigators said they believe Lewis died after falling from a nearby roof or balcony and Davis died from blunt force trauma. Coroner's officials said no official causes of death had been determined.

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.

Best known for his two-season role as Kip "Half-Sack" Epps on "Sons of Anarchy," Lewis credits include 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.

He most recently played a prisoner in "186 Dollars to Freedom," released this month.

ALSO:

Unruly male model restrained after disrupting flight, FBI says

Chef who said he 'cooked' wife guilty of second-degree murder

Remains found in Pacific Palisades those of missing UCLA student

— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather

School bus driver fatally hits 75-year-old, arrested on DUI

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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