Belfast Telegraph

Michael Jace pleads not guilty

Michael Jace pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and was ordered to stay away from his two children in court today.

The Shield actor was accused of fatally shooting his wife of ten years, April, at their Los Angeles home on May 19.

Michael has been held on $2 million bail, and a protective order was issued for Michael’s two children on Wednesday. The 51-year-old actor cannot have contact with his kids and cannot be within 100 yards of them.

Michael faces 50 years to life in state prison if he is convicted.

April’s death is thought to have been an act of domestic violence. The couple had been fighting over money problems. Michael filed for bankruptcy in 2011 with debts between $500,000 and $1 million, the BBC said.

Michael called 911 to report the shooting, reportedly even telling police he pulled the trigger. He was at the house when officers arrived.

The couple’s two sons were also in the home at the time of the incident. They were taken to a police station and are now thought to be with relatives.

Michael was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman and they divorced in 2002.

Michael was also accused of committing domestic violence against Jennifer. In official court documents from a 2005 child custody case between the former spouses over their son, Jennifer’s friend Maria De Le Vegas claimed she witnessed the alleged physical abuse first-hand.

“[Michael] choked and hit [Jennifer and] slammed her against the wall while [their infant son] screamed in his crib next to her," Maria said in the sworn declaration obtained by CNN.

“[Michael] was raging and out of control, and seeing the extent of his anger was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen.”

Michael is due back in court on August 1 for the possible start of a preliminary hearing.

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