There are new updates in the case on Michael Jace, “The Shield” actor who shot and killed his wife, April Jace, in front of their children this week. According to reports, the 48-year-old has a history of domestic abuse.
Before starting a relationship with April, Jace was married to a woman named Jennifer Bitterman from 1996-2002. During their divorce proceedings, she testified that Jace was extremely violent and often displayed that behavior around their son. CNN reports, “a woman described as a close friend of his first wife said in a sworn statement that she witnessed Jace physically abusing his wife in 1997.” In the declaration, Maria De Le Vegas said Jace “choked and hit” his wife and “slammed her against the wall while (their infant son) screamed in his crib next to her.” She added that he “was raging and out of control, and seeing the extent of his anger was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen.
According to TMZ, April actually defended Jace during his divorce from ex-wife Jennifer. April, who police found dead at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, told the divorce judge that “Michael provided a stable home for his child, though she never addressed the claims he choked and hit Jennifer Bitterman and slammed her against the wall in front of their screaming son.”
April, who had a degree in Early Childhood/Adolescence developmen, claimed Jennifer was a bad mom. She told the court, “Usually at bedtime, he [Jordan, the child] prays for his mom and asks God to protect her while he’s not there with her.”
Sources say severe money troubles may have also been a motive for the shooting. In March 2011, Jace filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, citing $500,000 in debts and an annual income of around $80,000. And at the time of the shooting, he owed $22,000 in state and federal income taxes, and defaulted on the $411,000 mortgage for his Los Angeles home where the shooting took place.
The accused murder is expected to appear in court on Thursday. He’s currently booked at a L.A. jail with bail set at $1 million.