After Johnny Lewis tried to break into a woman’s bedroom window last February, leaving her feeling “really creepy” and forever fearful, the Sons of Anarchy actor received a harsh appraisal in his probation report.
The 28-year-old Lewis had descended from a promising Hollywood career and glittering social life as boyfriend of Katy Perry to a sordid life of petty crime, money troubles, homelessness and suspected drug abuse and mental illness.
“This officer is very concerned for the well being of not only the community but that of the defendant,” his probation officer lamented in the report last May. “The defendant will continue to be a threat to any community he may reside [in].”
Four months later, and just days after he was released from jail, Los Angeles police say Lewis went on a rampage Wednesday morning, killing an 81-year-old woman and then plunging to his own death from a roof or wall in the Los Feliz neighborhood near Hollywood.
The news left Lewis’s many friends and costars saddened – though not all were entirely surprised. “I wish i could say that I was shocked by the events last night,” wrote Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter on his WhoSay page. “But i was not.”
Reports swirled over what triggered Lewis’s final implosion – but with so many problems and pressures, any one of them (or more likely some combination) – could be blamed.
Jonathan Mandel, his attorney during the burglary and an assault case earlier this year, said Lewis was in a treatment facility from April to August.
“He had dual diagnosis,” Mandel tells PEOPLE. “The belief was that [he had] a mixture of chemical addiction and chemically induced psychosis, meaning that some type of drug made him snap and become delusional.”
But Lewis, he said, didn’t want to stay in treatment. Lewis pleaded no contest in August in the criminal cases and opted for jail time instead of more treatment.
“He felt so adamantly about not being treated that he declined that and went back to jail for almost two months,” says Mandel. “Not many people would do that.”
With credit for time served and good behavior, Lewis walked out of a San Fernando Valley jail at 4:05 p.m. on Sept. 21.
Five days later, police responding to a 911 call about a woman screaming found the bodies of Lewis and Catherine Davis, along with the ravaged remains of a cat.
“Had he been in treatment, the odds of this happening would have been close to zero,” his former lawyer says. “Nobody thought it would get to this. This was so unexpected. His problems appeared to be treatable.”
Along the way, Lewis had the support of his father Michael Lewis, who attended court hearings and who gave him a place to live rent-free. A probation report says Lewis claimed $20,000 a year income from acting.
“If loving could cure a problem, Johnny would be so healthy and happy right now,” says Mandel. “His father was extraordinary. I don’t even have to guess how he’s doing. That’s a given. It’s a horrible situation.”
At the time of his death, PEOPLE confirms, Lewis had a young child with whom he didn’t live, though the details are unclear. His former legal adviser, Wendy Feldman, tells E! News that Lewis was heartbroken over a custody battle concerning the daughter, but she was unable to confirm “what’s the truth and what’s not.”
Feldman did know, however, that “when he spoke of his daughter he spoke of love.”
Lewis, who had played Kip “Half-Sack” Epps on the FX’s Sons of Anarchy, was quickly mourned on social media by his costars on the FX show as well as those who had worked with him on other projects.
Kayla Ewell, who appeared on The O.C. with Lewis, wrote on Twitter, “The Johnny Lewis I knew was a charismatic, captivating guy. Let’s remember the good times. RIP.”
• Reporting by AILI NAHAS and HOWARD BREUER