LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Michael Jace, best known for his role as a policeman on the TV drama “The Shield,” was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of second-degree murder for fatally shooting his wife in 2014 in front of the couple’s two children at their Los Angeles home.
Jace, 53, faces a sentence of 40 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 10.
The actor was upset that his wife, April Jace, wanted a divorce when he shot her once in the back and twice more in the legs on May 19, 2014, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
He then called authorities and reported that he had shot his wife, prosecutors said. The couple’s sons, ages 8 and 5 at the time, watched the killing in the family’s South Los Angeles home, prosecutors said. She was 40 years old when she was slain.
Prosecutors had asked jurors to find Jace guilty of first-degree murder, which involves premeditation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. But the jury in Los Angeles Superior Court instead found Jace guilty of second-degree murder, an intentional killing that was not premeditated.
Jace’s attorneys acknowledged in court that he shot his wife.
“Our entire goal was to show this was not a case of premeditation, and we achieved that goal,” Jace’s attorney, Jamon Hicks, said in an email. “This was a very smart and intelligent jury who deliberated and considered the evidence. They were not just moved by emotion but by the evidence.”
The jury of six women and six men began deliberations late on Friday and resumed on Tuesday morning, spending two hours considering the case before reaching the verdict, prosecutors said.
The jury found Jace used a handgun in the crime, a special circumstance that increases his minimum prison time by 25 years beyond the minimum term for second-degree murder, Risling said.
Jace is best known for portraying police officer Julien Lowe, a religious Christian conflicted about his homosexuality, on the FX cable drama “The Shield” that ran from 2002 to 2008.
Aside from “The Shield,” Jace had small parts in the films “Forrest Gump,” “Boogie Nights” and “Planet of the Apes” as well as various supporting roles on television in the past two decades. He filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2011.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Will Dunham