‘The Shield’ Actor Michael Jace Pleads Not Guilty Of Wife’s Murder

Actor Michael Jace, best known for his role on The Shield, appeared in a Los Angeles court Wednesday to enter a not guilty plea in the slaying of his wife.

According to CNN, 51 year old Jace wore a yellow jail jumpsuit and was kept handcuffed while in a glass holding area for the hearing. His attorney did not object when the judge set bond at $2 million and ordered that he have no contact with his two children.

April Jace, 40, was shot multiple times in the family home in South Los Angeles on May 19. Detective Lyman Doster told CNN that Michael called 911 to report his wife had been shot. The couple’s two young children were home at the time of the shooting.

Neighbors who heard gunshots also called 911. Some reported hearing arguing just before the blasts.

Preliminary autopsy reports reveal April died from “multiple gunshot wounds”. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled the death a homicide. “At this moment, the motive of the murder is believed to be domestic violence,” a police statement a day after the killing said.

Michael Jace married April in June 2003, a year after divorcing his first wife, with whom he shared a son who is now a teen. April was a financial aide counselor at Biola University. She had another son from a previous relationship.

NBC News reports that a statement released by April’s family said they were focused on caring for the children.

“We cannot reverse the senseless violence that resulted in April’s death but we can invest in the lives of her innocent children that are paying the price for it,” the family wrote.

Michael Jace appeared to suffer severe financial strain in recent years, according to court documents obtained by CNN. The actor filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in March 2011, citing $500,000 in debts and an annual income of around $80,000 from residuals from his TV and film work, the documents said. Also according to the documents, Jace had defaulted on the $411,000 mortgage on the south Los Angeles home where his wife died.

Michael Jace played detective Julien Lowe on The Shield from 2002-2008. He has also played roles on CSI and The Mentalist, among other shows. In 1999, he portrayed Michael Jordan in a TV biopic of the NBA star, Michael Jordan: An American Hero. Jace also had minor roles in Forrest Gump and Planet Of The Apes.

A preliminary hearing, in which investigators are expected to testify about why they arrested Michael Jace in the May 19 shooting death, is set for August 1.

Photo via Reuters