Los Angeles Police investigators have developed a way to bypass security features and open the locked Apple iPhone 5S belonging to April Jace, the slain wife of “The Shield” actor Michael Jace.
Jace is accused of killing his wife at their South L.A. home on May 19, 2014.
The bypass occurred earlier this year, during the same period when the FBI was demanding that Apple unlock the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI eventually said it found another method for unlocking the phone.
LAPD Detective Connie Zych wrote in a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times that on March 18, the department found a “forensic cellphone expert who could ‘override’ the locked iPhone function.”
The search warrant did not detail the method used by the LAPD to open the phone, nor did police reveal the identity of the cellphone expert. It’s also unclear what operating system April Jace’s phone used.
Jace’s attorney and the prosecutor assigned to his case could not be reached for comment.
Investigators have contended that the actor and his wife argued “about their relationship” via text message shortly before he opened fire, according to the search warrant. His attorneys have countered that April Jace, a well- liked financial aid counselor at Biola University in La Mirada, was having an affair.
Earlier this year, the actor’s attorneys persuaded a judge to delay the Jace murder trial until the wife’s phone underwent a more exhaustive search of its contents.
Shortly after her killing, April’s cellphone was locked by a passcode, which “hindered” the investigation, Zych wrote. Then in 2015, an Apple technician was ordered by an L.A. judge to help police extract data from the phone’s hard drive, according to the search warrant.
In late January, an investigator with the L.A. County district attorney’s office again tried to extract data from the phone but could only obtain the contents of its SIM card.
The following month, authorities tried to inspect April Jace’s iPhone but it didn’t turn on, the warrant stated. But in March, investigators learned that a forensic cellphone expert could “override” the security features, according to the warrant.
—City News Service