The Scientology Money Project

September 2012: Scientologist Johnny Lewis Murders His Landlady and Kills Himself

September 26, 2012: Scientologist Johnny Lewis had been released from the Los Angeles County Jail five days earlier. The 28-year-old actor had served a 303-day sentence for charges of assault and breaking and entering.

Suddenly, and for reasons that remain a mystery, Johnny Lewis snapped and went on a rampage. The  actor strangled and killed his 81-year-old landlady Catherine Davis; killed her cat; and then walked off the roof of a hillside garage into the darkness of the Los Feliz night. Lewis plunged headfirst onto the concrete driveway below, shattered his skull, and died upon impact.

Johnny Lewis was born into a Scientology family; promoted Narconon drug treatment; and appeared for two seasons on the acclaimed series Sons of Anarchy. He seemed to have everything going for him.

Following a motorcycle accident in October 2011 in which he sustained an injury to the head, Johnny Lewis entered a downward spiral. He became aggressive and was arrested three times. One of the arrests was for a fight in which Lewis struck two men with a bottle. A felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon followed.

Lewis was struggling with drinking and drugs before his death. However, the Coroner’s report showed that Lewis had no drugs in his system at the time of his death.

As the news of Johnny Lewis’ murderous rampage went viral, the Church of Scientology quickly began removing all mentions of the actor from its websites. The Hollywood Reporter documented Scientology’s purge of Lewis.

The Church of Scientology did its usual distancing act and insisted that Lewis had not been involved with the Church for many years. Yet if this was the case, then why did Scientology have so many photos of Johnny Lewis posted on its websites? Scientology wanted to have it both ways. When Lewis was at his height as a popular young actor who had once dated Katy Perry, Scientology used him as a poster boy. When Lewis became a murderer, however, Scientology seemed to vaguely recall that he had done some courses a long time ago.

TMZ also reported on the disappearance of Johnny Lewis from Scientology’s websites. TMZ showed a 2004 photo of Lewis at a Narconon event and documented its removal from Narconon’s photostream:

Like Mary Sue Hubbard, Shelly Miscavige, and so many other of its members, Johnny Lewis quickly became a nonperson in Scientology.

Johnny’s parents Michael and Divona Lewis had both reached the level of OT VIII when their son went on his homicidal rampage. Even as their dead son — the murderer — was being made a nonperson by their own Church, the Lewis’ insisted they had tried to get Johnny the help he needed. Conversely, Gawker’s coverage of Lewis stated:

In a recent report, a probation officer remarked that Lewis was suffering from “some form of chemical dependency, mental health issue and a lack of permanent housing,” and said he was becoming “very concerned for the well being” of both Lewis and the community writ large.

Johnny Lewis did not, or could not, move back home with his parents when he got out of jail. As his probation officer noted, Lewis suffered from a lack of permanent housing. Accordingly, upon his release from the Los Angeles County Jail, he rented a room from Catherine Davis, a wealthy and beloved Los Feliz patron of the arts. The bedrooms in Davis’ home had long been a welcoming haven for up and coming young artists. Catherine liked to help young people and her home provided them a safe place in a prime location close to Hollywood and the Burbank studio district.

Catherine Davis paid with her life for renting Scientologist Johnny Lewis a room in her home. No one warned Catherine about Johnny’s violent behavior.

Postscript: Two years after Johnny Lewis’ death, his Scientology father sued his son’s estate for $60,000 he claimed he was owed on a loan. In Scientology, death is merely “dropping the meat body” as it called. Money, however, is of supreme and eternal importance. Indeed, as poster “Communicator I/C” observed:

As some commentators on TMZ have noted, it is, sadly, possible that if Michael prevails in his lawsuit against his son’s estate that there will be less money for Johnny’s child, the grandchild of Michael.

The autopsy report on Johnny Lewis: Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

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