How One ‘Boyz N The Hood’ Actor Went From Portraying A Killer To Being One In Real Life

Family of Lloyd Avery II said he was trying to prove something he didn’t have to.

March 08, 2023
Lloyd Avery, pictured here acting, was sentenced to life in prison following the fatal shootings of two people.

Lloyd Avery II went from playing a killer on-screen to being one in real life.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Death By Fame")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Death By Fame")

Lloyd Avery II rose to fame after pulling the trigger in an iconic scene in John Singleton’s 1991 Oscar-nominated classic Boyz n the Hood. Credited as “Knucklehead #2,” Avery’s character kills “Ricky Baker,” played by Morris Chestnut, a footballer who was aiming to escape his South-Central hood by going to college on an athletic scholarship.

“Lloyd had a presence that I think was undeniable,” casting director Robi Reed told the Chicago Defender in June 2022. “When people refer to that ‘it’ factor, it’s really intangible — you just know when you see it.”

Avery would go on to play very similar roles in a few other movies and television shows like Poetic Justice, Don’t Be a Menace, and The Breaks. Off-screen, however, the Los Angeles native saw life imitating art as he joined a gang which ultimately would lead to his downfall.

According to True Crime Database, Avery moved from his middle class neighborhood, where he was living with his parents, to a Blood-affiliated neighborhood known as the “Jungle,” in South Los Angeles. Avery reportedly took a liking to his new neighbors and became a Blood, affiliated with the Black P-Stone set, not just playing one in the movie.

Malcolm Norrington, a friend of John Singleton, worked alongside Avery. He played “Knucklehead #1.” He told TCD he was shocked when he learned about Avery’s gang connection.

“He was kind of meek, he was not anything near a street guy.” Norrington said. “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, what is he doing Blooding? Lloyd?”

“I like to call it the Tupac Syndrome,” said Che Avery, Lloyd Avery’s brother, in a 2007 profile of Avery’s life featured in King magazine. “He felt 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?”

Things began to take a turn for the worst in March 1999. According to reporting by King, Avery was shot during a drive-by on Hillcrest Avenue. He shot back. A month later he got into an altercation with members of the Santa Barbara Islamic Center and later, that night, threw an object through the window. A shootout ensued where several people died.

During the chaos, Avery still managed to find some work, but his colleagues noticed how he couldn’t separate fact from fiction. While on the set of Lockdown, Avery reportedly got upset over having to play a drug-addicted prison snitch.

“Lloyd went f*cking nuts,” his co-star Tait Fletcher told the publication in 2007. “He had a baseball bat or something and went swinging it through the halls on a tirade.” While on the set of New Jack City, he stole a car, smoked weed in front of a child actor’s trailer, and got into several fights with gang members.

Soon Avery’s past would finally catch up with him. According to the Chicago Defender, LAPD arrested Avery for the murder of Annette Lewis and Percy Branch, on Dec. 8, 1999. Avery shot and killed them on July 1, 1998, in Santa Barbara Plaza, while attempting to collect drug debt.

Avery had been pursuing his career, all this time, filming two movies and a few TV shows, before being arrested. In December 2000, Avery was sentenced to life in prison.

While incarnated, Avery found Christ and dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the gospel. He was even nicknamed “Baby Jesus.”

According to the Chicago Defender, his downfall came after being placed with Kevin Roby, a devil worshiper who signed his name as ‘Satanic Christ’. On Sept. 4, 2005, Roby killed Avery as part of a Satanic ritual "intended as a warning to God."

“He was pushing his agenda to convert me to Christianity, which led to us fighting,” Roby told the Criminal Perspective podcast in 2020.

For more on this case, stream ID's Death by Fame now on discovery+.

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