LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 10-year-old son of an actor on trial for murder in the killing of his wife testified Wednesday that he heard his father tell her that she should run to heaven before shooting her twice in the legs in a hallway outside the boy's bedroom.
Nehemiah Jace told a Los Angeles jury that he saw his father, Michael Jace, pull his mother into a hallway where she fell down and then heard his father say, "'If you like running, then run to heaven.'"
"Then he shot her," the boy testified.
April Jace was an avid runner and had two sons with the actor, who were 8 and 5 at the time of her death two years ago. Michael Jace shot his wife in the legs so she would feel pain, Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef said during her opening trial statement.
Michael Jace, 53, had played a police officer on the television series "The Shield" and had small roles in the films "Planet of the Apes," ''Boogie Nights" and "Forrest Gump." He had been unemployed for several years before his wife was killed.
Prosecutors say he shot his wife of nine years three times — once in the back in the living room and then twice in the legs in the hallway visible from the bedroom Nehemiah shared with his younger brother.
Jace's lawyer Jamon Hicks has said the actor accepts responsibility for killing his wife and his state of mind is crucial to his defense.
Prosecutors say Jace had been upset because his wife wanted a divorce and he believed she was having an affair.
April Jace was killed after returning home from Nehemiah's baseball game.
The boy told jurors his father was in a dining room when they arrived and his mother and younger brother sat on a couch for a few moments before his father told his brother to go to his room.
He said his father then pulled his mother by an arm into the hallway, where she fell.
If convicted of the murder charge, Michael Jace could face 50 years to life in prison.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP