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Johnny Lewis Death: Drug Use May Have Triggered Psychotic Break, Actor Had Ties To Scientology

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JOHNNY LEWIS DEATH DRUGS
Johnny Lewis may have had drug-related psychotic break. | AP

New factors are coming to light in the aftermath of the death of "Sons of Anarchy" actor Johnny Lewis.

The 28-year-old is suspected of killing his elderly landlord, Catherine Davis, and her cat, and attacking his neighbors, before he was found dead on Wednesday morning outside Davis' home. Lewis' body was found on the driveway, and it's believed he may have jumped or fallen from the roof, garage or balcony. Davis' autopsy revealed her cause of death was blunt head trauma and manual strangulation.

Johnny Lewis was released from jail on Sept. 21 and also underwent a recent stint in rehab. Lewis' probation officer expressed grave concern about Lewis' mental health in a report dated four months before his death, reports the Associated Press. A May 17 probation report states that "the defendant suffers from some form of chemical dependency, mental health issue and a lack of permanent housing. Given this, (Lewis) will continue to be a threat to any community he may reside."

According to TMZ, the actor's family members say Lewis' drug use completely changed him, and sources told the website the actor was "mentally healthy" until he suffered a "psychotic break" earlier this year, which was likely triggered by drug use.

Family members told the website that Lewis' personality changed dramatically after the break, and he continued to self-medicate with more drugs to deal with his problems. As he became increasingly unstable, family members were never able to get a clear diagnosis from doctors as to the nature of his mental illness.

The results of his toxicology report have yet to be released, but the New York Daily News reports that investigators are looking into possibilities that Lewis' violent outburst was triggered by a popular new synthetic drug called Smiles.

TMZ previously reported that Lewis was allegedly on the drug PCP or meth at the time of his death; however, the website now claims that they don't believe he murdered Davis in a drug-fueled rage -- as doctors allegedly gave Lewis medicine to stabilize his condition but when he got out of jail six days before the murder, they believe he stopped taking his meds and became extremely unstable.

The actor's lawyer, Jonathan Mandel, told the media that Lewis was on supervised probation at the time of his death, and confirmed that Lewis was known to have "a lot of mental problems," adding that his parents and friends had desperately tried to get him help.

The actor also reportedly had deep ties to the Church of Scientology, as E! News reports that his father, Michael Lewis, works at the Valley Life Improvement Center, which incorporates Scientology into its counseling, and TMZ found evidence that Lewis was once involved with Narconon -- the church's drug abuse program. In 2004, the actor spoke at a substance-abuse prevention event on behalf of the organization.

Clearly, the program was not successful for Lewis, which isn't surprising given that Narconon's program has garnered considerable controversy and its methods have been described as medically unsafe. The former president of Narconon Oklahoma told The Village Voice in 2011 that those enrolled in the program learn almost nothing about drug addiction or drug education, but instead are trained in the same way as those just joining Scientology.

The church appears to have removed photos of Lewis promoting their anti-drug program, and when TMZ contacted the Church of Scientology, a rep for the organization claimed that Lewis had not been active in the church for several years.

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