Stranger Than Fiction
On his last night as a free man, Lloyd Avery II was taking hits from a bong and giving his younger brother the creeps. They were sitting in the two-car garage of their grandmother's house on Crescent Heights Boulevard near Beverly Hills. The conversation soon grew heavy.
Lloyd knew the walls were closing in. "I've had a good life,â€ he said. The smoke wafted through the comfortable California night. He passed the bong to Che, who could muster only a single toke. It was potent, and weed made him nervous. The strained look on his brother's face wasn't easing Che's paranoia, either. "You want to hear something scary?â€ Lloyd asked.
Che knew that in recent weeks, detectives had visited their grandma's and father's residences in search of his brother. He wasn't surprised. He noticed Lloyd had been acting a little more self-destructive than usual. Che sensed Lloyd was trying to get something off his chest but was wary of what he might say. "I don't want to hear that shit,â€ Che muttered. "[I know] you're in trouble.â€ Maybe it was the THC, but Che pulled out a pocketknife and brandished it toward his big bro. Che insists he wasn't going to stab him; this was his way of cutting the conversation short. They didn't say anything more that night, and Lloyd retreated to his grandma's room to crash at the foot of her king-size bed. The LAPD knew where he was sleeping. By the next morning, they pounced.
Che remembers the helicopters being louder than usual and seeing a lot of foot traffic out front. Lloyd was with his bike in the kitchen, where he gave his brother a hug, last night's situation already forgotten, and then left through the back door. Riding on Crescent Heights Boulevard, he made a U-turn and pulled up to the driver's side of a police car.
Lloyd leaned down, brazenly asked, "What's up?â€ and released his grasp from the handlebars of his aluminum Mongoose. The officer opened his door, and Lloyd stumbled. He quickly recovered and sped west in an attempt to elude the cops but soon collided with another police vehicle. He was arrested for a double homicide.
At the time of his capture, Lloyd Avery was a 30-year-old actor who was finally landing some work. He made his name in a small but memorable part in Boyz N the Hood but was quickly sidetracked. Earlier that summer, Lloyd booked back-to-back features, the Master Pâ€“produced Lockdown, and Shot, where he also served as a technical advisor. In the latter, he played G-Ride, a menacing yet charismatic gang member. To those who knew him then, it wasn't much of a stretch. But to others, it just didn't make sense.
"He was kind of meek,â€ says Malcolm Norrington, who played Knucklehead No. 1 to Lloyd's Knucklehead No. 2 in Boyz. "He was not anything near a street guy. Within a year of Boyz, I was hearing about him missing auditions. I don't remember when I heard about him joining [a gang]. I just remember being perplexed. To me, it was like, â€˜What is he doing Blooding? Lloyd? C'mon.â€
Indeed, shortly after Boyz, Lloyd baffled those closest to him by leaving his middle-class neighborhood for the Jungle, a heavily Blood-affiliated area between La Brea Avenue, Crenshaw Boulevard, Santo Tomas Drive and Coliseum Street. Lloyd embraced his new home, tattooing the word "JUNGLEZâ€ above his left eyebrow.
"Instead of just being a Hollywood-like studio gangster, he was living it,â€ Che says, speaking from his mom Linda's house. His voice, a soulful, gruff twang, is contemplative. "My brother turned into a for-real for-real gangster.â€ Apparently, Lloyd Avery never got over playing Knucklehead No. 2.
"I like to call it the Tupac Syndrome,â€ Che says. "He felt like he had something to prove when he really didn't. Even if you have money and fame, you will sacrifice all of that just to have respect from a bunch of thugs.â€ But unlike Pac's demise under the glitz of the Vegas strip, Lloyd's murder was far from glamorous. He was killed by his Satan-worshipping cellmate in Pelican Bay State Prison. Outside of his family, it wasn't really news. Not even to the corrections officers who took two days to discover his body.
Read the entire Lloyd Avery II saga in KING Magazine's November 2007 "Hollywood Issue", on newsstands now!