Santa Monica Police Department
Each minute seems to bring new information about the mysterious Johnny Lewis case.
The former Sons of Anarchy actor died Wednesday in Los Angeles after plummeting from the roof of a house where he rented a room, and is a suspect in the killing of the home's 81-year-old owner, who was found strangled to death inside.
E! News spoke to attorney Jonathan Mandel, who represented Lewis in two of his criminal cases, and Mandel tells he urged Lewis to get help, but his client refused.
"I did recommend in both of his cases that he get a treatment option," Mandel tells E! News from Virginia, where he is working on another case. "He clearly had delusions."
What kind of delusions, exactly? Lewis' lawyer couldn't say, but added that it was clear "he was delusional."
"It was his decision," Mandel tells us of Lewis denying treatment. "He wanted door No. 2 and I couldn't control it." Mandel add that even if the TV actor would have chosen treatment, it was a big "if" whether or not it would have made a difference.
Mandel tells E! News he and Lewis and parted ways in August after Lewis declined to take the plea deals Mandel had negotiated that included treatment. "He disagreed with the offer that included treatment," and so they parted ways. Lewis went on to represent himself in that case and negotiated his own deal.
"Certainly he would have benefited from it," says Mandel. "Would it make a difference? I don't know exactly at this point what happened."
Mandel said he last spoke to Lewis about a month ago, but didn't want to delve into the nature of that call. "I don't know what caused the psychosis," he tells E! News, "Clearly, it did impede his judgment. Something was going on with him."
Meanwhile, the late star's lawyer shares with us that Lewis' family, most notably his father, Michael, have been working tirelessly to try to help him. "My concern is with the family right now," says Mandel. "They were very loving and tenacious with him. They were loving and supportive in a very difficult situation. I have nothing but deep respect for his family, especially his father. They tried to work to solve the problem."
Regardless of Lewis' conflicts, Mandel calls him "a very interesting kid with a lot of talent."