Michael Jace, the famed actor known for his role as LAPD officer Julian Lowe on the FX series The Shield, is set to face trial after jury selection began on Monday. Jace, 53, is charged with the murder of his wife April Jace. They were married for over 10 years.
A judge told 70 prospective jurors about the actor’s work, acknowledging that the case received notable publicity, PEOPLE Magazine writes. The trial is expected to last a week and opening statements will begin on Tuesday. Jace is charged with one count of murder with a gun, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
April, a 40-year-old financial counselor at Biola University, shared two sons with her husband; they were eight and five at the time of her death in 2014.
“April was a very joyful person,” Jonathan Seruyange, associate director of financial aid at Biola University, told PEOPLE. “She was very caring. Very joyful. Always ready to joke and laugh with people. She was easy to get to know.”
According to The AP, Jace shot his wife twice on May 14, 2014 in their Los Angeles home, with one bullet hitting her back while their two children looked on. Police say Jace called 911 after the shooting, then called April’s father to pick up the children.
Authorities believe the murder occurred following a domestic dispute, but few details on the case have been released.
The Los Angeles Times reports that texts from April’s iPhone 5s will be used as evidence to prove the couple was arguing over their relationship before the shooting.
Defense attorney Jamon Hicks said his client’s state of mind will become evident once the trial begins.
“It isn’t a whodunit,” Hicks said in the Times article. “It is a state of mind case.”
Jace’s neighbors told the AP that he was a “doting father” and a prosecutor said there was no evidence of a violent history between the couple.
After a lengthy career in Hollywood starring in Forrest Gump, Planet of The Apes, and Boogie Nights, prosecutors say Jace experienced financial difficulty and filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Before the shooting, he had fallen behind on bill payments, according to the AP.
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