Johnny Lewis

If you know me personally then you know that besides my obvious obsession with true crime, I am also an avid movie and television fan.  One of my favorite series' is The Sons of Anarchy.  I could probably quote nearly every episode. So in 2012 when I heard of the death of Johnny Lewis and all that surrounded it I was intrigued.  If you are also a fan of that show (he was in others) or Johnny Lewis then you know that he played the character of "Half Sack" who died trying to protect the main characters son.  After his own death the creator of Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter, was quoted as saying he was not surprised at his death but was "deeply sorry that an innocent life had to be thrown into his destructive path."

On September 26, 2012 all anyone really knew was that Johnny Lewis' body was found in the drive way of the house in which he was renting a room and inside the home was the body of his eighty-one year old landlord, Catherine Davis. Investigators had also found Catherine's dismembered cat in the bathroom of the home.  As is generally the case it was assumed that drugs were involved and sometime throughout the night Lewis had murdered Catherine Davis, and her cat and then either jumped or fell off the roof of the residence.

A picture began emerging of what Johnny Lewis' life had become over the last several months.  In fact, he had only been released from jail six days before the tragic events of that night.  

In February of 2012 Lewis had been arrested and later charged with the assault and battery of a woman (at least that is what some reports say, others say it was a fight with two men).  Eight days later he was arrested again but this time for attempted burglary.  It appears however that he did not start serving any time for anything until about April.  Then in August he apparently decided enough was enough and pleaded no contest in both cases.  He was given a sentence of one year but considering he had been in jail for a while he only had to serve a little over a month more.  He was released on September 21st and was on probation.  

Now, of course I was really only privy to the events of the months leading up to his death but there were some accounts that some of these arrests involved drugs but I found nothing of the sort.  After the events Lewis' lawyer was spoken to and stated he had recommended that he seek treatment but Lewis had declined.  But, again the indication was that the lawyer was recommending drug treatment.  The same lawyer had stated to the court, and apparently the media that Lewis suffered from psychosis, but once more it was in reference to drugs.  Two men had stated that just before the incident they had an encounter with Lewis.  One of them was a neighbor who said he found Lewis trying to break into his home.  He and a handyman had a confrontation with Lewis who they both claimed seemed to have "super human strength." 

So between all of these references from the attorney, the rumors of drug arrests, and the account of the two men from that night convinced everyone that Lewis had been on some kind of drugs at the time of the incident.  But, several weeks later when the toxicology reports returned, along with an scenario as to events, it was discovered that apparently Johnny Lewis had no drugs in his system what so ever.  It was theorized, not just because he was there, but from scratches on his body that he had killed Catherine Davis and had fallen from the roof of the home.  The medical examiner stated they did not feel that he had jumped or been pushed from the roof.  It had been determined that Catherine Davis died from blunt force trauma and strangulation.

While researching this something really stuck out at me.  In a section discussing his biography it was mentioned that his father, Michael worked for a place called Valley Life Improvement Center.  It appears that this place incorporates the teaching of Scientology in their counseling.  It was stated that it was unknown if he or his family were involved in the teachings but in a later reference I found that in 2004 Lewis had been in a rehab center called Narconon that was also ran by those involved in Scientology.  It was said that after his death all references of Lewis were removed from their website.  

Now, I do not find the references to Scientology interesting because I have a particular dislike for them, although I could probably start a big discussion about them.  I find it interesting because with what little I do know about the religion, aside from the fact it is often referred to as a cult, is that those who are involved in Scientology do not believe in mental illness.  Several years ago there was a big thing in the media because well known Scientologist, Tom Cruise had criticized actress Brooke Shields after she had written a book that referenced her experience with postpartum depression.  It was well publicized that the religion did not believe this was a valid disease, along with many others such as bi-polar disorder or even ADHD in children.  Followers were forbidden to take medications to control these issues.

Despite references being made that it was not verified that Johnny Lewis and/or his family were involved directly with Scientology I find it hard to believe that they were not considering his fathers job and the rehab in which he reportedly visited.  That being said, I find all of the drug references, and then the absence of drugs, as well as the "super human strength" that was described more of sign of a mental disorder (or as one of the Columbine mothers says, brain illness) than drug induced rage.  It seems the only reference made about Lewis' mental health was expressed months earlier by a probation officer who expressed concern over his mental health and the danger he posed to himself and others.  

As someone who has had way more experience than I care to, dealing with the mental health system I can say it is hard enough to find proper help when the patient admits there is a problem.  It is even harder when the person does not believe it is a problem, and I would gander to say nearly impossible when there are not people supporting that idea and attempting to help.  I found no reports that stated if the men who had the encounter with Lewis shortly before his death, indicated anything he may have said so to know if he was having a psychotic break or was hallucinating in any way may never be known.

At the time of his death Johnny Lewis believed that he had fathered a child.  It seems that he was in the process of attempting to gain visitation rights but had been several thousands behind in child support payments.  It seems initially, since he died without a Will, that his estate came under the care of his partners in a company they owned called Highbrow Punk Inc (I was unable to determine anything about this company or if it even still exists).  Not long after his death his parents sue the estate saying they had given their son approximately $60,000 and that those in charge of the estate had promised to pay them back had only given them less than $25,000.  Now, this was something else that I found extremely interesting.  It seems that at some point the parents ended up gaining control the estate that was estimate to be worth about $40,000 with his parents saying they were owed approximately $36,000 of that.  I was unable to determine just when Johnny Lewis' parents had decided that their son owed them money.

The mother of his child, Diane Gaeta (now Diane Gaeta Marshall-Green) has argued that despite the fact that Johnny Lewis had signed an affidavit of paternity and accepted their daughter, that his parents were renouncing the fact that the child was his.  She apparently was forced to obtain a paternity test to prove the results, to which they were positive.  She stated that Johnny owed $37,000 in back child support and that the money in the estate, although should go to her, was rightfully their daughters.  She claimed that if she obtained the money it would go in a trust for her daughter.  Sometime during this time she also claims that Michael Lewis had been made the administer of the estate and was refusing her daughter the estate.  Whether that has been settled or not is unknown.  

I hate to sound suspicious but it is in my nature.  I just find it extremely odd that the amount the parents say their son owed them, and the amount that was supposedly owed in child support are so close in numbers.  There seems to be no indication that Diane Gaeta has lied in any way and has apparently proven that her child was in fact Johnny's and yet there are still disputes.  This leads me back to his parents which would indicate things about his upbringing and the type of people that they are.  Did their son really owe them that money?  Are they just not giving it to Diane for their daughter because they are greedy or is it because since the daughter is not a Scientologist she does not "exist" in their world?  The answers are unclear.

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