California jury selection begins in murder trial of ‘Shield’ actor
(Reuters) – Jury selection began on Monday in the California murder case against actor Michael Jace, who played a police officer conflicted about his sexuality in the cable television drama “The Shield” and was accused of killing his wife in 2014.
The jury seating process is expected to continue Tuesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said. She said the trial is expected to last about a week once the jury is seated and opening statements begin.
Jace has pleaded not guilty to shooting and killing his 40-year-old wife April on May 19, 2014 in their South Los Angeles home before calling authorities to report an emergency.
The couple’s two children, who were both younger than 10, were home at the time of the shooting and were placed in the care of relatives, authorities said.
A cellphone expert overrode the lock function of April Jace’s Apple iPhone to help Los Angeles police in the homicide investigation, court records released earlier this month showed.
Jace’s attorney in January argued in court the actor suspected his wife was having an affair and may have become enraged moments before the shooting, after seeing something on her iPhone, according to a report at the time from the New York Daily News.
Jace, who has appeared mostly in supporting roles on television in the past 20 years, is best known for portraying police officer Julien Lowe, a religious Christian who is conflicted about his sexuality, on the FX cable drama “The Shield” from 2002 to 2008. He also had small parts in the films “Forrest Gump,” “Boogie Nights” and “Planet of the Apes,” among others.
April Jace had worked in the financial aid office at Biola University, an evangelical Christian university southeast of Los Angeles, for a year before she died.
Jace filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2011.
If convicted, Jace faces a minimum sentence of 50 years and a maximum life sentence in state prison.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Cynthia Osterman)