The body of April Jace is removed from the couple’s home in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles on May 20. (photo DWIGHT FLOWERS/AP)
Actor Michael Jace, best known for portraying a Los Angeles police officer on the television drama “The Shield,” waived his right to a hearing August 1 on whether there was sufficient evidence for him to stand trial on a murder charge stemming from his wife’s shooting death at the couple’s Hyde Park home. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn found that there was sufficient cause to order Jace, 52, to stand trial, after he gave up his right to a preliminary hearing. Jace — who appeared in court in orange jail clothes — was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $2 million bail while awaiting arraignment Aug. 15.
Outside court, one of Jace’s attorneys, Jason Sias, said, “We intend to present our defense at trial.”
The murder charge includes an allegation that Jace personally and intentionally discharged a handgun. Jace is accused of shooting his wife, April, around 8:30 p.m. May 19 in the couple’s home in the 5400 block of Brynhurst Avenue. The actor called 911 shortly afterward and he was arrested early the next morning by Los Angeles police, authorities said.
The 40-year-old woman’s body was found inside the home. Police said the couple’s two children — who were both under 10 — were in the home at the time. According to April Jace’s Facebook page, the couple would have celebrated their 11th anniversary in June. She had worked since March 2013 as a counselor at the financial aid office at Biola University in La Mirada, according to a statement released by the university.
“April’s radiant personality brought great energy to the Financial Aid Office,” said Geoff Marsh, the university’s senior director of financial aid.
“Her love for helping students and families and her great work ethic earned the respect and love of her co-workers. Her smiling face and helpful spirit will be missed by all.”
The woman’s family was taking over the care of the couple’s two young sons, according to the university’s statement. If convicted as charged, Jace faces 50 years to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Jace is best known for his role as LAPD Officer Julien Lowe in “The Shield.” He has also appeared in such films as “Forrest Gump,” “Boogie Nights” and “Planet of the Apes.”
He was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman, but the couple divorced in 2002. The Los Angeles Times reported that Bitterman accused Jace of domestic violence in court papers. She contended that Jace threatened to kill her if she fought him over visitation of their son. The Times also reported that Jace filed for bankruptcy in 2011, citing debts of more than $500,000. A neighbor told the newspaper that the actor had struggled to find steady work since “The Shield” ended its run.