April Jace was a talented and successful masters track and field athlete who ran in sprinting competitions and won several medals. She was also a loving mother of three children and a financial aid counselor at Biola University. But her life was tragically cut short on May 19, 2014, when she was shot and killed by her husband, actor Michael Jace, in their Hyde Park home. What led to this horrific act of domestic violence? And what was the outcome of the murder trial that followed? Here is a summary of the facts and events surrounding April Jace’s cause of death.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Michael Jace called 911 around 8:30 p.m. on May 19, 2014, and told the dispatcher that he had shot his wife. When the police arrived at the couple’s address in the 5400 block of Brynhurst Avenue, they found April Jace lying on the floor with multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The couple’s two young sons, aged 5 and 8, were also in the house at the time of the shooting, but were unharmed. Michael Jace was taken into custody without incident and booked on suspicion of homicide.
The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear, but it soon emerged that the couple had been having marital problems for some time. According to court documents, April Jace had filed for divorce in 2013, but later withdrew the petition. She had also expressed concerns about her husband’s anger issues and financial troubles. Michael Jace, who had played a police officer on the TV show “The Shield”, was reportedly behind on his mortgage payments and owed more than $500,000 in back taxes. He had also filed for bankruptcy in 2011.
On the day of the shooting, April Jace had returned home from picking up their sons from baseball practice. She had also sent a text message to her husband saying that she was on her way. According to prosecutors, Michael Jace was jealous and angry that his wife wanted a divorce and that she had a close relationship with a former boyfriend. He allegedly waited for her in their bedroom with a loaded .38-caliber revolver that he had taken from his father-in-law’s house. He then confronted her about her text messages and shot her once in the back. He then chased her down the hallway and shot her twice more in the legs in front of their children. He also allegedly taunted her by saying “You like to run so much, why don’t you try running to heaven?” according to Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef.
Michael Jace pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and claimed that he did not intend to kill his wife, but only to injure her. His defense team argued that he acted in the heat of passion and that he was suffering from mental and emotional distress. They also tried to access April Jace’s iPhone to find evidence that would support their claim that she was having an affair. However, they encountered difficulties in unlocking the phone and extracting data from it.
The trial began on May 23, 2016, and lasted for about a week. The prosecution presented evidence from crime scene photos, autopsy reports, ballistics tests, phone records, text messages, and witness testimonies. They also played the 911 call that Michael Jace made after the shooting, in which he admitted to killing his wife and said “I’m sorry”. The defense did not call any witnesses or present any evidence. Michael Jace did not testify in his own defense.
On May 31, 2016, a jury convicted Michael Jace of second-degree murder in the shooting death of April Jace. They rejected the first-degree murder charge, which would have required proof of premeditation and deliberation. They also found true an allegation that he used a firearm to commit the crime.
On June 10, 2016, Judge Robert Perry sentenced Michael Jace to 40 years to life in prison. He also ordered him to pay $41,000 in restitution to April Jace’s family for funeral expenses and counseling costs. He denied him any credit for good behavior or time served.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Perry said that Michael Jace showed no remorse for his actions and that he inflicted “unimaginable pain” on his wife and children. He also said that he abused his position as a police officer on TV to manipulate public perception of him as a good person.
April Jace’s family released a statement to the Associated Press calling her shooting “a senseless act of domestic violence”. They said that they were grateful for the justice system and that they hoped that Michael Jace would find God and repent for his sins. They also said that they would continue to honor April Jace’s memory and legacy as a champion athlete, a devoted mother, and a caring friend.