Michael Jace, known for his role on the FX police drama The Shield, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to killing his wife April Jace. The actor is charged with her shooting death. Bond was set at $2 million following the hearing and Jace was told he couldn't have contact with his two children. A preliminary hearing was set for August 1st.
April Jace died from "multiple gunshot wounds" according to the results of her autopsy. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled her death a homicide.
Michael Jace reportedly called 911 following his wife's death and told an operator that he had shot her. His father-in-law also called 911 as he raced to his daughter's home following a message from Michael Jace.
"My son-in-law called me and texted me and said come get the kids because he shot April, our daughter," he said in a recording that was recently released by the Los Angeles Fire Department.
A police statement issued the day following April Jace's death said the expected motive behind her murder was domestic violence. A woman who is a close friend of Michael Jace's first wife Jennifer Bitterman said he abused his wife back in 1997.
Jace "choked and hit" Bitterman and "slammed her against the wall while (their infant son) screamed in his crib next to her," Maria De Le Vegas said in a sworn statement.
Michael Jace apparently suffered from serious financial issues and had recently even defaulted on the couple's mortgage. The Shield provided the biggest role in Jace's 22-year career as an actor. He appeared in 89 episodes as Julien Lowe, who started as a rookie officer in an inner-city Los Angeles police precinct in 2002 and worked his way up to detective before the series ended in 2008.
In addition to The Shield Jace appeared in several episodes of the TV series Southland and had small roles on episodes of The Mentalist, NYPD Blue, Burn Notice, and Private Practice.
April Jace worked at Biola University as a financial aid counselor.
"We are obviously shocked and saddened by this terrible news, to lose a wonderful colleague, mother and friend," Biola President Barry Corey said in a written statement.
"April's radiant personality brought great energy to the financial aid office," financial aid director Geoff Marsh said. "Her love for helping students and families and her great work ethic earned the respect and love of her coworkers. Her smiling face and helpful spirit will be missed by all."
Almost as sad as the loss of April Jace is the fact that the couple had children together. They will not only suffer the loss of their mother, but will one day likely learn that their father was responsible for her death, and that's something not easily handled--no matter how old one is.
Image via YouTube