Michael Jace is remembered today for various reasons. He was a familiar face on the crime drama television series "The Shield," where he played Julien Lowe. Michael appeared in 89 episodes, and in the movie, he acted as a rookie officer who rose through the ranks and became a detective.
Apart from "The Shield," the actor featured in other movies like "Southland," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Private Practice," "NYPD Blue," "Burn Notice," and "The Mentalist."
Almost two decades have passed since "The Shield" aired, and many wonder what the actor has been up to. Jace is now 56 and a doting father to two children, who he shared with his late wife, April. However, he has no chance of spending time with his kids, as he is doing his time in jail.
WHO WAS APRIL JACE?
April was an American athlete who was skilled in track and field events. Before her demise, she was a counselor at Biola University in La Mirada. April loved helping students and families with a better work ethic, which eventually earned her the love and respect of her co-workers.
April tied the knot with Michael in 2003, and to celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2013; she took to her Facebook page to share snaps of her friends, family, and husband.
According to her Facebook page, she and her actor husband would have celebrated their 11th anniversary, but sadly, her life was cut short a month before.
WHAT HAPPENED TO APRIL?
May 19, 2014, will always be a day to remember, as April was found by the police lifeless with bullet wounds on her upper body in her home in South Los Angeles. The following morning, Michael was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Before his arrest, Michael had called the police to report that he had fatally shot his wife. Reports had it that the couple's neighbors heard a heated argument between the pair followed by the sound of gunfire.
According to the Los Angeles Police department, the couple's children, eight and five years old, were present at the murder scene.
Police statements revealed that the motive of the murder was believed to be domestic violence. Michael was detained on the night of the murder and charged to court the next day.
THOUGHTS ON APRIL'S DEATH
April was loved by many, and her death was a big blow not only on her immediate family but her friends at large. Several people opened up about the unfortunate incident, and they all noted that she would be missed terribly.
At the time, the president of Biola University, Barry Corey, said the school was shocked and saddened by the terrible news. Furthermore, he described the late athlete as a wonderful colleague, mother, and friend.
Financial aid director Geoff Marsh also said April had a radiant personality that brought great energy to the office of financial assistance. In addition, he made it known that they would all miss her smiling face and helpful spirit.
MICHAEL'S COURT APPEARANCES
Michael appeared in court for the first time on May 22, 2014, and continued his arraignment till June 18. Like every other person would be, Michael was not in the right frame of mind.
His lawyer, Jason Sias, noted that being in court was very emotional for the actor, as he mostly thought about his children. Michael's emotions did not stop him from being tried.
Evidence against him was presented to the district attorney by the Los Angeles Police Detectives. Despite all findings, the Hollywood star pleaded not guilty, according to his lawyer's instructions.
Apart from evidence, witnesses also testified in court. Amongst several testifiers who showed up was the actor's young son, Nehemiah. According to the little boy's statement, he saw his dad pull his mom into the hallway.
Maria noted that after the 1997 ordeal, there were at least three incidents where Michael physically assaulted his former wife.
Next, Nehemiah said he heard his father tell April to run to heaven if she liked running. After the statement, the little boy confirmed that he saw Michael shoot April. Prosecutors made it known that the athlete was shot three times, twice in her leg and once in her back.
Even though the motive was domestic violence, prosecutors claimed that Michael was gravely offended because he felt April was cheating, and she wanted a divorce. In addition, Michael was reported to have also been abusive to his first wife.
INSIDE MICHAEL'S FIRST MARRIAGE
Before his marriage to April, James was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman. They tied the knot in 1995, and in 2002, they called it quits. During a custody battle with his wife for son, Bitterman's friend, Maria De La Vega, narrated her observations while the pair were married.
The woman said that she had seen Michael physically assault his wife in 1997. According to the woman's explanations, the actor choked Bitterman and slammed her against a wall while their little son screamed terribly.
She said Michael was furious and out of control, and the extent of his anger was the most horrifying thing she had ever witnessed. In addition, she noted that Bitterman's friends and family were concerned for her safety.
Maria noted that after the 1997 ordeal, there were at least three incidents where Michael physically assaulted his former wife. The actor admitted to having fights with his wife but denied all allegations of abuse against him by Maria.
THE COURT'S FINAL VERDICT
After several appearances in court, Michael made it known that the murder was not premeditated. He apologized to April's family and friends for the pain caused.
Despite his emotional words, the actor was found guilty and was sentenced to 40 years to life by a Los Angeles Court. His son noted that he saw the sadness on his father's face, and it was a good thing that the actor had realized his faults.
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