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Johnny Lewis' Troubled Life and Death — from TV Stardom to Killing His 81-Year-Old Landlady

Edduin Carvajal
Aug 30, 2020
08:00 A.M.
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Late actor Johnny Lewis, best known for playing Kip Epps in "Sons of Anarchy," had a short and troubled life. He died as a result of an accident at 28 years old.

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Born in October 1983, Johnny Lewis was a middle child raised in Los Angeles by a father who worked at the Valley Life Improvement Center, which as E! reported, incorporates Scientology into its counseling. However, it is unclear whether the late actor was raised as a Scientologist.

He appeared to have died from some type of fall.

Johnny Lewis on September 13, 2011 in Toronto, Canada | Photo: Getty Images

Johnny Lewis on September 13, 2011 in Toronto, Canada | Photo: Getty Images

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JOHNNY LEWIS' CAREER

Johnny's career in the entertainment industry began when he was 16 years old, taking a small role on the TV show "Undressed." Then, he appeared in "7th Heaven," "Malcolm in the Middle," and "The Sausage Factory."

During the 2000s, he appeared in several TV series, establishing himself as a promising star in Hollywood. His career skyrocketed in 2008 when he was cast as Kip "Half-Sack" Epps in "Sons of Anarchy."

Johnny Lewis during an episode of "Sons of Anarchy" | Photo: YouTube/ABC News

Johnny Lewis during an episode of "Sons of Anarchy" | Photo: YouTube/ABC News

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JOHNNY'S PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW

While he had a prolific career, his personal life was quite troubled, to say the least. In February 2012, Johnny was arrested for battery in Los Angeles. The victim was a woman named Shirley Wendell.

He was eventually charged with assault, battery, and resisting arrest and served 12 days behind bars. Apart from that, he was placed on probation for three years and ordered to stay away from Shirley.

Only a week after his first arrest, Johnny Lewis, who dated Katy Perry between 2005 and 2006, was taken into custody for entering a Los Angeles residence through a window. He was charged with burglary and loitering, and in April, he was sent to jail.

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Johnny Lewis during an episode of "Sons of Anarchy" | Photo: YouTube/Hollywood

Johnny Lewis during an episode of "Sons of Anarchy" | Photo: YouTube/Hollywood

One month later, the court ordered to transfer him to a treatment center, so he was taken to Ridgeview Ranch in Altadena, California – a specialist facility for mental health, alcohol, and drug-related problems.

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In August 2012, Johnny was sentenced to serve a year in prison, plus another 291 days for assault with a deadly weapon (from an incident that took place in Los Angeles in January 2012) and attempted burglary.

However, on September 21, 2012, he was released from jail. According to ABC News, the reason why he was released was unclear.

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JOHNNY LEWIS' DEATH

Less than a week later, on September 26, 2012, Johnny Lewis passed away. He and his 81-year-old landlady, Catherine Davis, were found dead at a residence in the Los Feliz neighborhood. About his death, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said:

"He appeared to have died from some type of fall, either from the stairway, or from the balcony, or from one of the roofs."

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/Celebuzz

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/Celebuzz

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Investigators also found that Davis' body suffered major trauma before she passed, and Johnny, who was renting a room from Davis, was considered the main subject in the homicide investigation.

Johnny Lewis' death and final moments were described in detail by Los Angeles Magazine. The late actor supposedly confronted and killed Davis in her room and then killed her cat.

After that, he got outside and attacked a handyman and a neighbor, climbed into the residence and made it to either the upper patio or roof.

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/ABC News

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/ABC News

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HIS DEATH WAS NOT RULED A SUICIDE BUT AN ACCIDENT

From that point on, it's unclear if he slipped and fell or just jumped, but his death was ruled an accident.

When Lewis died, his lawyer Jonathan Mandel pointed out that his former client was "delusional" and that he rebuffed suggestions to seek treatment.

Mandel confessed that he recommended that Lewis get treatment twice, but that it was the late actor's decision not to take that option. The lawyer added that he didn't know the cause of his "psychosis," but that it "clearly" impeded his judgment.

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/Celebuzz

Johnny Lewis | Photo: YouTube/Celebuzz

Alternative sentencing specialist Wendy Feldman, who dealt with Lewis' cases before his passing, pointed out that he was dealing with "psychopathy or bipolar disorder," and that he needed a psychiatrist.

It is important to mention that Johnny Lewis' toxicology report did not show any traces of drugs or alcohol in his system.

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