The Shield actor accused of murdering his wife was a pretty terrifying father, according to his ex-wife. During a 2004 custody case, Jennifer Bitterman said Michael Jace used an "intimidation style of discipline" on their young son, Jordan, according to court records obtained by the New York Daily News. Jace spanked him "for crying or being afraid," and once threatened him for "failing to stand up to his stepbrother," Bitterman said, adding that Jordan was afraid to be alone with his father and once called her "inconsolably sobbing" because Jace refused to take him home from an overnight visit.
The court documents also reveal that, according to Bitterman, Jace threatened to kill her if she "went to war" over visitation with Jordan. And, the Los Angeles Times reports, another filing shows that one of Bitterman's friends testified that she saw at least four violent incidents between the couple before they divorced, including one in which Jace "choked and hit" Bitterman and then "slammed her against the wall"—as Jordan, then 6 months old, cried in his crib nearby. Jordan is now grown, but Jace's two young sons with April Jace were home when he allegedly killed their mother. Money problems may have been behind their fight.