What happened to Johnny Lewis is still a mystery, but many suspect his motorcycle accident had much to do with it.
“Hi, I’m Johnny, your new neighbor,” uttered a young man, his piercing blue eyes leaving Dan Blackburn momentarily dumbfounded on his doorstep. Dan, a seasoned ex-NBC newsman, had slyly observed the stranger’s movements for a good quarter of an hour from the comfort of his living room window.
Stripped down to a pair of jeans and crimson footwear, Blackburn’s unexpected guest had been restlessly pacing the serene pavement of this idyllic corner nestled within the Los Feliz Hills. He was sweating, had a figure of modest build, possessed wiry strength, and was adorned with disheveled blond locks.
What Happened to Johnny Lewis in September 2012?
September 26, 2012, had marked a departure from the neighborhood’s customary tranquility, as evidenced not only by the arrival of Blackburn’s curious visitor but also by the presence of a house painter diligently attending to the first-floor deck of Blackburn’s residence.
This elevated platform overlooked the illustrious Writers’ Villa, a splendid 1927 Spanish-style mansion, which had long served as a haven for generations of playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, and actors under the auspices of Cathy Davis—an esteemed real estate broker and generous benefactor to the arts—where they honed their craft and navigated the complexities of life in Hollywood.
Acknowledging the introduction with a questioning arch of his eyebrow, Blackburn cordially responded, “Nice to meet you, Johnny.” The two individuals found themselves locked in a momentary standoff within the confines of Blackburn’s doorway.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, the enigmatic Johnny, whose true identity as the actor Johnny Lewis would only unravel later, abruptly walked away and left Blackburn to resume his customary morning routine.
At the age of 28, Lewis could hardly be considered a mere newcomer to the neighborhood. Rather, he was a familiar face making a return. Cast into the spotlight of the Writers’ Villa in 2009, the young actor had previously called the Red Suite of the Writers’ Villa his temporary abode for two months.
However, the passage of three years saw Lewis embarking on a different trajectory, one fraught with turmoil and marked by a distressing series of mindless and aggressive attacks. Following his release from the confines of downtown’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility, his father, in an earnest bid to restore peace in his son’s life, orchestrated his re-acquaintance with the villa’s sanctuary.
The hope nestled within these accommodations was that the nurturing ambiance of the villa would prove instrumental in grounding Lewis, serving as a balm to soothe the turbulence that had engulfed him in recent months.
Approximately half an hour had elapsed since Lewis’s initial encounter at the doorway when the piercing voice of Blackburn’s wife, Gloria, resonated with palpable distress, summoning him urgently.
Hastening to the scene, Blackburn emerged to witness a grievous spectacle: Lewis, perched atop the hapless housepainter, relentlessly subjecting him to a barrage of merciless blows, transforming the worker’s face into a ghastly canvas of crimson.
Traces of blood danced through the air, settling upon the actor’s body. Acting swiftly, Blackburn intervened, mustering his strength to extricate the five-foot-ten-inch Lewis from his victim’s prone form. Seizing the assailant by the shoulder, Blackburn bellowed sternly, screaming for him to stop.
In a swift, fluid motion, Lewis sprang to his feet and unleashed a formidable punch squarely upon Blackburn’s torso, sending him sprawling. With an impassive expression adorning his face, Lewis exuded an otherworldly strength, unfazed by the altercation that ensued.
Undeterred by the assault, Blackburn retaliated, summoning the remnants of his vigor to land a punch against Lewis’s temple. A chair became a weapon of necessity, its impact jolting Lewis into a momentary stupor, affording Blackburn, his wife, and the beleaguered housepainter a fleeting opportunity to retreat to the safety of the abode.
When they attempted to close the front door, Lewis pushed his arm through the gap like he was in a horror film. The arm eventually slithered away after the three exerted their whole weight on the door and slammed it four times. In addition to calling the police, the gang barricaded themselves inside.
From a vantage point at the window, Blackburn witnessed an astonishing spectacle. Jonathan Kendrick “Johnny” Lewis effortlessly hurdled over the modest fence encircling the deck, swiftly landing on the wooden barrier enclosing the Writers’ Villa adjacent to it.
His feet glided without touching the ground as he effortlessly scaled the fence and vanished into the villa. Blackburn aptly compared his agile movements to a subdued version of Spider-Man.
In a matter of minutes, law enforcement arrived at the scene, only to be confronted with a horrific scene. The lifeless body of Davis, an 81-year-old residing in the villa, lay inside her home, displaying signs of brutal assault and strangulation. Lewis, the assailant, and tenant, met his demise in the driveway, his skull gruesomely fractured in half.
News of that fateful morning quickly reached the sensationalized pages of tabloids: Actor Johnny Lewis had murdered his landlady, Cathy Davis, and dismembered her cat, before meeting his fatal end, whether through a fall or intentional leap.
The true motives behind these shocking events remain mysterious. Initially, the immediate assumption was that Lewis had been under the influence of drugs. However, the reality is far more intricate and convoluted.
The Life of Johnny Lewis
Born on October 29, 1983, Johnny Lewis embarked on his acting journey from a tender age. Los Angeles Magazine reports that Lewis’s mother introduced him to auditions when he was six.
With his fair hair and piercing blue eyes, Lewis swiftly captivated casting agents, leading to appearances in commercials followed by notable TV shows such as Malcolm in the Middle and Drake & Josh. As Lewis progressed into adolescence, he continued to secure roles in renowned shows like The O.C. and Criminal Minds.
Despite achieving success, Lewis stood out among his peers in the entertainment industry. While residing in Hollywood’s renowned “frat row” and being romantically involved with pop star Katy Perry, Lewis’s preferences leaned towards the world of poetry rather than indulging in typical partying.
According to his friend, actor Jonathan Tucker, this unique quality made Johnny truly exceptional. He abstained from drugs and alcohol, choosing to immerse himself in the realms of poetry and philosophy instead.
However, 2009 marked a turning point for Johnny Lewis. Despite his flourishing two-season run on Sons of Anarchy, he departed from the show, finding the increasingly violent storylines divergent from his creative vision.
He aspired to focus on writing a novel, alongside discovering the news that his girlfriend, Diane Marshall-Green, was expecting their child.
Regrettably, the following years became a harrowing descent for Johnny Lewis, culminating in a tragic and fatal outcome.
What Happened to Johnny Lewis?
The following three years proved to be a series of devastating events for Johnny Lewis. In 2010, after the birth of his daughter, Culla May, his relationship with Diane Marshall-Green deteriorated, leading to a bitter custody battle over their infant child.
The subsequent year, in October, Lewis was involved in a motorcycle accident. Although medical professionals found no signs of a concussion, Lewis’s family noticed changes in his behavior following the crash. He resisted undergoing MRI scans and occasionally exhibited peculiar shifts in accent, adopting an odd British intonation at times.
In January 2012, Johnny Lewis exhibited violent behavior for the first time. He unlawfully entered the adjacent unit while staying at his parents’ condominium. Confronted by two men who asked him to leave, Lewis engaged in a physical altercation, assaulting both individuals with an empty Perrier bottle.
Facing charges of trespassing, burglary, and assault with a deadly weapon, Lewis was incarcerated in Twin Towers jail. However, during his time there, he intentionally banged his head against the concrete and attempted to leap from the height of two stories. As a result, Lewis was involuntarily transferred to a psychiatric ward, where he remained under observation for 72 hours.
Tragically, the situation deteriorated further in the ensuing months. Lewis made multiple suicide attempts, developed extreme sensitivity to light (to the extent of tampering with his parents’ fuse box), physically assaulted a man outside a yogurt shop, immersed himself fully clothed in the ocean, and attempted to break into a woman’s apartment.
Following the attempted break-in, Lewis’s probation officer expressed grave concerns about the safety of the community and himself, stating that he posed a continued threat wherever he resided.
Those close to Lewis observed a distinct transformation in his demeanor. According to Tucker, Lewis appeared to be entirely different, resembling disturbed war veterans. His memory became fragmented, fluctuating between moments of lucidity and incoherence.
However, there was a period of temporary improvement during the summer. Johnny Lewis sought assistance at Ridgeview Ranch, a treatment facility for drug addiction and psychosis. Additionally, he was prescribed medication to address schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In a journal entry in July 2012, Lewis expressed a sense of wholeness and restoration, describing the return of scattered fragments of himself, likening them to pieces that had been stolen in his sleep and were now finding their way back to him.
Later that autumn, Lewis received a one-year jail sentence but served only six weeks due to overcrowding. Lewis’s father arranged for him to reside at the Writers’ Villa, catering to aspiring creative talents in Los Angeles to introduce stability and tranquility into his son’s life. Lewis had previously stayed there briefly in 2009.
Lewis’s stay at the Writers’ Villa tragically concluded with his untimely death and the demise of 81-year-old Cathy Davis.
Johnny Lewis and His Tragic End
On September 26, 2012, five days after being released from jail, Johnny Lewis became increasingly agitated in his new residence. The exact cause of his distress remains unclear, with friends speculating that Cathy Davis, possibly reprimanding him for attempting to tamper with the fuse box, might have triggered his emotional turmoil. However, the subsequent events paint a heartbreaking picture.
After introducing himself to a bewildered neighbor named Dan Blackburn, Johnny Lewis confronted Cathy Davis inside her bedroom. There, he subjected her to a brutal assault, strangling and beating her to death. In a horrifying turn of events, Lewis chased and fatally beat Davis’s pet cat, cornering it in the bathroom.
The coroner’s report revealed the gruesome extent of the violence inflicted upon Davis, noting that Lewis had shattered her entire skull and left the left side of her face obliterated, exposing her brain. The floor was strewn with fragments of her brain matter.
Following the heinous attack, Lewis returned to Blackburn’s yard, launching an assault on a house painter and assaulting Blackburn when he attempted to intervene. Lewis relentlessly pursued the painter, Blackburn, and his wife, forcing them to seek refuge inside their home. Blackburn later recounted to the Los Angeles Times that Lewis appeared impervious to pain, likening the impact of their strikes to futile attempts with a fly swatter.
At this point, Lewis returned to the Writers’ Villa, where he tragically plummeted or leaped 15 feet from the roof. In response to a distress call reporting a woman’s screams, the police arrived at the scene, discovering the lifeless bodies of Davis, her cat, and Lewis.
LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith expressed the profound tragedy of the situation, stating that they were thoroughly investigating the incident. However, the investigation faced limited avenues to explore, as Johnny Lewis was the sole suspect in the case.
Following the tragic demise of Johnny Lewis, a wave of confusion, shock, and horror swept through the public. Various publications speculated that Lewis might have been under the influence of drugs. The Los Angeles Times even reported that detectives suspected his involvement with a synthetic drug called C2-I or “smiles.” However, the autopsy conducted on Lewis revealed no traces of drugs in his system.
While the underlying reasons for Johnny Lewis’ actions remained elusive, several individuals close to him acknowledged that the devastating turn of events did not entirely take them aback.
Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter expressed his sorrow and lack of surprise, describing the tragic ending as the result of a talented individual who had lost his way. Sutter wrote on his website, “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.”
Lewis’s lawyer, Jonathan Mandel, disclosed to CBS News that his client had grappled with numerous mental problems and had been recommended treatment, which he declined. Mandel also revealed to E! News that Lewis suffered from psychosis, which evidently impaired his judgment.
Some individuals pointed accusatory fingers at Lewis’s parents, both of whom are Scientologists, a religion that discourages psychiatric treatments. However, Lewis’s father stated that he had encouraged his son to seek help, a sentiment affirmed by Mandel.
“I give a lot of credit to his parents,” Mandel acknowledged to CBS News. “They were really strong in trying to help him out. They really went to bat for him, but I guess they couldn’t do enough.”
Ultimately, despite the collective efforts, it became evident that no one could prevent the tragic outcome that befell Johnny Lewis.
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