Michael Jace, officially charged for the death of his wonderful wife April last Monday night, has been painted as a violent man full of uncontrollable rage. Jennifer Bitterman, Jace’s first wife, claimed herself a victim of his violent nature during a custody battle in 2005. Even now, court records from that case are being published containing sworn statements from Bitterman’s close friend that highlight Jace as the kind of man who seems capable of all sorts of violence – but not to April. Their neighbor, Shirley Harding, attested that their relationship seemed filled with happiness. Many of April’s friends who worked with her at Biola University can scarcely believe she has gone when they had just seen her moments before she went home that Monday evening. To the eye of the general public, there would be no reason not to assume the worst after reading article upon article of the brutality of her death. It would be especially easy to fixate on the horror of how April was ripped away from her children, family, and community.
While this remains an unimaginable loss for April’s family and friends, the response of her community is one filled with love and respect. April was a woman full of joy, life, and energy. Michael Jace’s wife was known as a wonderful financial aid counselor at Biola, a private Christian school in La Mirada, April strove to help the students to the best of her ability. She was known for her excellent work ethic and was a well-respected colleague in the Biola Community. More than that, she will be remembered for her joyful spirit and genuine love for the people around her. When it came to the students, she was attentive and persistent, assisting families through the difficult and often frustrating process of financial aid. She always went beyond the call of duty when it came to fostering relationships with those students, as they knew they could count on her help. Her colleagues were encouraged by her energy and words. She left an impression and had an unforgettable smile.
Several students and faculty attended a memorial service that was held in her honor on the very next day at the Biola campus’ Calvary Chapel. They lifted up a prayer for peace and comfort for those affected by this tragedy, especially for her two children. She was a blessing and will be remembered for the loving person she was to the people who had the chance to know her.
No doubt she was a wonderful blessing to Michael Jace since the day they became man and wife in the year 2003. Even after the shooting, it was Michael who called 911. There was a call for help and no resistance. One can only believe it was out of an act of true remorse rather than some twisted sense of self-preservation. There is no excusing the violent manifestation of anger, and there should be just consequence to it, but there is something to be said of the actions thereafter. As Jace’s trial approaches and a sentence is pronounced, the greatest hardship will undoubtedly fall on the children. The only hope one can have for them during such difficult times will be for their children to focus on April’s loving smile and joyful spirit in times of anger and confusion.
Opinion by Sophia Bien
The Denver Post