Actor Michael Jace jailed for 40 years
Former television series “The Shield” actor Michael Jace was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Friday for shooting his wife in front of their two young children in 2014.
Jurors deliberated less than three hours before convicting Jace on May 31 of second-degree murder, and finding true an allegation that he personally used a handgun, Xinhua reported.
Before the sentence, the 53-year-old actor spoke for first time in court that there was “no justifications for my actions” when he shot his wife, April Jace.
He also turned to the family and said: “I am profoundly sorry for the pay I have caused everyone … There is no replacing April.”
During the trial, the couple’s 10-year-old boy, Nehemiah, testified that he saw his father bring his 40-year-old mother into a hallway, where she fell down.
“Then my dad said, ‘If you like running, run to heaven’, and then he shot her,” the boy told the jury.
“Defendant Jace is a volatile individual who displays unpredictable and irrational rage and he is prone to violence,” the statement concludes.
“Any discussion about parole for Jace must be considered with extreme caution.”
The statement also recounts the trial testimony of Jace’s ex-wife, Jennifer Bitterman, whom he divorced in 2003, alleging that Jace choked and hit her and threw her against a wall in front of another woman while Bitterman’s six-month-old son cried in his crib nearby.
“On numerous occasions, Jace was both physically and psychologically abusive as well as threatening,” Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef noted.
“My life will never be the same,” April Jace’s mother said, urging Los Angeles Superior Court to impose the maximum sentence on her daughter’s killer.
Jace shot his wife three times, once in the back and then twice in the legs on May 19, 2014, at the home the couple shared with their sons in Los Angeles.
The final shots were delivered in a hallway of the couple’s home, within sight of their sons, who were aged eight and five at the time.
In an audio-recorded interview played for the jury, Jace told police that he was holding the gun when his wife returned home from a baseball game with their sons but she did not immediately notice the firearm.
He told the police that she lunged at him, he pushed her away and she spun around before the shooting. “I was just angry,” Jace told investigators. “All I intended to do was to shoot her in the leg”, not kill her.
The prosecutor noted that Jace also believed his wife April, a financial aid counsellor at Biola University, was having an affair.
April denied she was cheating in text messages sent to her husband before she was killed.
The prosecutor said the couple exchanged 164 text messages the day of the shooting, telling jurors that Jace’s wife wrote one text message that she was “afraid to come home” and that her husband had engaged in “trickery to make her believe he wasn’t home”.
“He’s obsessed with her … He finally controls her to heaven,” the prosecutor told jurors.
Jace is best known for his role as Los Angeles police officer Julien Lowe in “The Shield”. He has also appeared in such films as “Forrest Gump”, “Boogie Nights” and “Planet of the Apes”.