The Washington Post

Report: Michael Jace, the ‘Shield’ actor who allegedly killed his wife, was heavily in debt

According to a new report, Michael Jace, the actor who reportedly told 911 that he shot his wife Monday night, was somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million in debt at the time of the alleged crime.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Jace, 51, was arrested and held on $1 million bail, and is accused of shooting his wife April multiple times in their Los Angeles home. According to TMZ, Jace’s children saw him shoot his wife and were at the police station for about four hours before the department of children and family services took them to a relative’s home. Police found her body in the hallway. They also found a handgun, which they believe was used to kill April, 40. The couple had been married for almost 11 years. Jace is best known for his role as a closeted gay police officer on the FX drama “The Shield.”

Radar Online reports that Jace declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2011 and that he was three months behind on debt payments as of October 16, 2013.

According to Radar’s exclusive report:

Since the hit FX crime drama came to an end in 2008, the 48-year-old actor hasn’t had steady work except for bit parts on such other successful series including Private Practice and The Mentalist in 2011 and irregular appearances on Southland, which could explain his lower monthly income listed as $5,423. Their expenses totaled $5,307.83.

In 2009, he claims to have made a substantial $71,270 and $75,000 the following year, which significantly dropped in 2011 to $17,000.

According to the docs, there were even months on end when his wife was the only one bringing in income of $1,976 through her job with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Jace left her position with L.A. Unified to become a financial aid officer at Biola University.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the crime. Jace had no previous criminal record in Los Angeles. While neighbors reacted with surprise, the Los Angeles Times reports that Jace’s first wife, Jennifer Bitterman, accused Jace of domestic violence:

In court documents she described one instance in which she said Michael Jace threatened to kill her if they went to “war” over his visitation rights of their son. In the divorce filing, Bitterman painted a portrait of her husband as temperamental and unreliable.

In another filing, a longtime friend of Bitterman’s described a violent incident she said she witnessed between the couple.

The woman told the court she was in the room when Michael Jace “choked and hit” Bitterman and “slammed her against the wall while [her son] screamed in his crib next to her.” The child was 6 months old at the time.

The friend added she saw at least three more incidents of violence in the eight months she lived with the couple between 1996 and when Michael Jace filed for divorce in 1997.


Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality.



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