A jury has convicted “The Shield” actor Michael Jace of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of his wife in front of the couple’s two young sons in Los Angeles.
A jury of six women and six men deliberated about two hours before finding Jace, 53, guilty in the killing of of April Jace on May 19, 2014, prosecutors said. Jace was also convicted on a special allegation charge that he used a firearm.
The actor, who portrayed a police officer in “The Shield,” was upset his wife wanted a divorce and was obsessed with the belief that she was seeing someone else, prosecutors told jurors in opening statements.
Jace waited in their home in the 5400 block of Brynhurst Avenue and when April came home, around 8 p.m., he shot her once in the back, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jace shot her two more times in the legs in front of their sons, who were 8 and 5 at the time.
Jace then called 911 about 8:30 p.m. and told the operator he shot his wife, according to evidence presented at trial. Her body was found inside the couple’s home along with their two children, who were unharmed.
Jace, in custody since his arrest, is expected to be sentenced on June 10. He faces 40 years to life in state prison.
Jace’s lawyers acknowledged he killed his wife in the couple’s home, but argued he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because it wasn’t a premeditated act.
Jace, who had small roles in films such as “Boogie Nights,” ”Forrest Gump” and the television show “Southland,” told detectives he didn’t intend to kill his wife and only wanted to inflict pain. He had had been out of work for years and said financial struggles put a strain on the couple’s marriage.
“I was just angry,” Michael Jace told investigators, according to a transcript released Thursday. “All I intended to do was shoot her in the leg. And then I shot her in the leg and that was it.”
He waited for police after calling 911 and gave a lengthy interview to detectives in which he told them he planned to shoot her in the leg with her father’s revolver.
April Jace, who earlier that day had told her husband she wanted a divorce, was killed moments after returning to their home after a youth baseball game. Text messages presented during the trial show Michael Jace had told his wife he had left their home, but instead was waiting with the loaded handgun.
He told detectives he planned to kill himself, but couldn’t follow through. He also said he shot his wife the first time after she lunged at him.
Jace’s now 10-year-old son testified that he heard his father tell his mother, “‘If you like running, then run to heaven.'”
Jace’s attorney Jamon Hicks said in opening statements that the case boiled down to the actor’s mindset at the time of the killing, and whether it was premeditated.
“This case is not about how it was done. We acknowledge it. We accept responsibility,” Hicks said. “This case is about why it was done.”
In opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef portrayed Jace as a calculating killer.