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

September 27, 2012 | 12:00 pm

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.


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— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather