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Jury finds ‘Shield’ actor Michael Jace guilty of second-degree murder of his wife

Michael Jace on trial for murder
Actor Michael Jace listens during closing arguments of his trial at Los Angeles County Superior Court in Los Angeles Friday, May 27, 2016.
(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A jury on Tuesday convicted an actor who played a police officer on TV of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife that was partially witnessed by their two young sons.

The verdict in the trial of Michael Jace, who appeared on the FX series “The Shield,” came after a weeklong trial in which Los Angeles jurors were told the actor shot his wife, April, in the back and then twice in the legs with a revolver that belonged to her father.

Jace, 53, did not testify in his own defense. He told detectives soon after the attack that he had retrieved the gun to kill himself but couldn’t do it. Instead, he planned to shoot his wife, an avid runner, in the leg so she would feel pain, Jace told detectives in a recorded interview.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. Tannaz Mokayef told jurors the actor was waiting for his wife and he shot her in the back and taunted her before shooting each of her legs.

Jace’s 10-year-old son testified that he heard his father say, “ ‘If you like running, then run to heaven,’ ” before firing the second time.

Savoy Brown, an adult son of April Jace, said the family was pleased with the verdict. He said watching Jace has been difficult for the family, and said he is hoping the actor, who bit his bottom lip when the verdict was read but showed no other emotion, will show his feelings when he is sentenced.

Mokayef said the potential sentence would be 40 years to life in prison.

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She said during the trial that the actor was upset that his wife wanted a divorce and believed she was having an affair, although no evidence was presented during the trial that she was cheating.

Jace’s attorney, Jamon Hicks, said his client is remorseful for killing his wife. He said the actor may speak during his sentencing hearing to express his remorse, but he wants to be respectful of April Jace’s family.

Hicks previously told jurors the actor accepted responsibility for killing his wife but should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he shot her in the heat of passion.

Jace also had small roles in films such as “Planet of the Apes,” ’'Boogie Nights” and “Forrest Gump.”

He turned himself in to police after the shooting and has been jailed since.

April Jace, 40, was a financial aid counselor at Biola University.

Before the trial, Los Angeles police investigators obtained a method to open the locked iPhonebelonging to Jace’s wife.

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LAPD detectives found an alternative way to bypass the security features on the white iPhone 5S belonging to April Jace.

The bypass occurred earlier this year, during the same period that the FBI was demanding that Apple unlock the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI eventually said it found another method, without using Apple, for unlocking the phone, which was equipped with a newer and more advanced operating system than April Jace’s phone.

It’s unclear what operating system April Jace’s phone had, although her killing occurred months before Apple rolled out the operating system iOS8, which has more enhanced encryption.

An Apple technician had previously helped the LAPD access information from April Jace’s phone, but investigators later sought an alternative way to bypass the phone’s lock, according to the warrant.

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UPDATES:

1:23 p.m.: Updated with background.

11:30 a.m.: This article was updated with additional information.

10:54 a.m.: This article was with the verdict.

This article was originally published at 10:32 a.m.


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