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Michael Jace (Photo: Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An actor who played a police officer on the TV show “The Shield” was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison after tearfully apologizing for fatally shooting his wife but still insisting he didn’t mean to kill her.
Michael Jace, 53, was sentenced by a judge in Los Angeles after a jury convicted him last week of second-degree murder in the death of April Jace.
“There is absolutely no justification for my actions on that night,” Jace told his wife’s family members in court. “I am profoundly sorry for the pain that I’ve caused everyone.”
He said it was important that her family know that he didn’t commit first-degree murder. “There was no premeditated anything,” he said.
April Jace’s mother, Kay Henry, angrily shook her head and walked out of the courtroom in the middle of his comments.
Henry addressed the court before Jace did, weeping as she talked about her daughter, saying the night she was killed, “we both died.”
“My first thought on my mind most mornings is, ‘Your daughter has been murdered.’ Then I wonder about how I’ll do today without her,” she said. “I think about how my grandsons will navigate their teen years … Will they remember their mother and how much she loved them?”
Soon after the attack in May 2014, Jace told detectives that he had retrieved the gun to kill himself but couldn’t go through with it. Instead, he planned to shoot his wife, an avid runner, in the leg so she would feel pain, Jace said in a recorded interview.
Jace did not testify during his trial. His attorney, Jamon Hicks, told jurors that Jace “snapped” and shot his wife in the heat of passion.
Prosecutor Tannaz Mokayef told jurors that Jace fired a revolver that required him to pull a heavy trigger several times.
“I don’t know how you can shoot somebody three times and call it an accident,” she said.
She cited testimony from the couple’s young son, who told jurors that he heard his father say, “'If you like running, then run to heaven,’” before firing the second time.
“Who is going to argue that this was not an intent to kill?” Mokayef said. “Where else is heaven?”
Mokayef said the actor was upset that his wife wanted a divorce and believed she was having an affair, although no evidence was presented during the trial that she was cheating.
She said he taunted her after first shooting her in the back, and then shot her in the legs.
Mokayek said his sentence was appropriate.
“And he’s right,” she added. “There is no justification for what he did.”
Jace’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment after the sentencing hearing.
April Jace, 40, was a financial aid counselor at Biola University. She was married to Michael Jace for nine years and they had two sons, who were 8 and 5 at the time of her death.
Michael Jace had small roles in films such as “Planet of the Apes,” “Boogie Nights” and “Forrest Gump.”