Statements that throw new light into the murder trial of Shield actor Michael Jace over the shooting of his wife were made in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday.
According to prosecutor Attorney Tannaz Mokayef, Michael taunted his wife over her request for a divorce before he shot her twice, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. After Michael shot his wife, April, in the back, she staggered away only to be shot by her husband again, this time in the legs.
“You like to run so much. Why don’t you try running to heaven?” were the words that came out of Michael’s mouth when he taunted his wife before killing her, according to prosecutors.
“What you will hear is a really sad story of obsession and control,” Mokayef said, noting that Michael had “been out of work for a while.”
Mokayef added that Michael was obsessed with the belief that his wife was having an affair with another man.
Prosecutors said that before Michael gunned down his wife, he exchanged text messages with her, claiming that he was at a friend’s house when, in fact, he was at home waiting for her while armed with a loaded gun.
Shortly after killing his wife, Jace texted his mother-in-law with the message, “Come get the boys. I shot April.”
He then proceeded to dial 911.
The couple’s two sons, Nehemiah and Caleb, were put under protective custody after Michael was arrested during the early hours of May 19, 2014. Nehemiah was 8-years-old at the time of the shooting; Michael was 5. Both of them saw the shooting when it happened, according to prosecutors.
"The Shield'' actor, Michael Jace's trial continues. He's accused of shooting his wife, while his sons watched. pic.twitter.com/wgkLlTJDvU— Terrance Bates (@tbates97) May 24, 2016
Members of the Elite Health Club track team attended the court proceedings Tuesday to show support for April Jace, who was an avid runner.
The 53-year-old actor, who is best known for part in the TV series The Shield and his roles in movies such as Forrest Gump, faces 50 years of jail time if he gets convicted for the murder of his wife two years ago in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
The defense maintained that they acknowledge Michael’s hand in the killing of his wife but rejected the claim that the murder was premeditated, pushing the jury to investigate the state of their client’s mind when the murder happened.
Defense attorney Jason Hicks referred to the shooting as a “terrible, terrible, terrible tragedy.”
“This case is not about who did it. We acknowledge it, we acknowledge responsibility. This case is about why it was done,” the defense attorney said.
Hicks said that the text exchange between Michael and April before the shooting happened will reveal what was going on in the former’s mind when he pulled the trigger.
U.S. law enforcers have initially struggled to crack the security features of digital devices that could potentially assist with murder investigations. In March, the LAPD sought the help of a forensic smartphone expert in helping them pass through the phone’s security features. The district attorney was finally able to examine the smartphone in April.
According to prosecutors, some of the messages show that April wished for a divorce while Michael said that he was frustrated that his wife lacks commitment to God.
Prosecutors said that Mr. Jace informed the police that night that his wife was cursing him before the shooting occurred.
“She lunged at me,” Michael stated. “I pushed, she spun I shot her in the legs after she fell down.”
According to the police, Jace said that the reason why he was in possession of a loaded gun in the first place is because he was thinking of using it on himself.
Michael divorced from his previous wife, Jennifer Bitterman, in 2002. Having accumulated debts amounting to more than $500,000, he filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Neighbors said that the actor struggled to find new work after The Shield.
[Photo by David McNew/AP Images]