Entertainment & Arts

US actor Michael Jace pleads not guilty to wife's murder

Actor Michael Jace appears in court for an arraignment hearing in Los Angeles, California 18 June 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Jace has said he will not contest an order keeping him away from his children

The Shield actor Michael Jace has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife in a Los Angeles court.

Mr Jace's bail was set at $2m (£1.2m) and he was ordered to stay away from his two children if he is released.

Prosecutors say he shot April Jace, 40, multiple times at their family home on 19 May, while the couple's young children were present.

Mr Jace called 911 to report the shooting, according to police, and was at the house when they arrived.

The 51-year-old actor played Detective Julien Lowe in FX series The Shield.

On Wednesday, his lawyer, Jason Sias, said his client might seek a reduction of his bail at a future hearing. He is due in court next on 1 August.

Mr Sias said the actor would not contest the order keeping him away from his children.

"Mr Jace is just concerned about his children," he said after the hearing.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Michael Jace recently appeared in TV drama Southland

Fire officials have released an emergency call from April Jace's father, in which he reveals the actor told him he had shot his wife.

The audio recording features an unnamed caller who explains to the operator, "My son-in-law called me, and (texted) me, and said come get the kids because he shot April, our daughter."

Her family have called her death a senseless act of domestic violence and police are looking into whether financial or other domestic issues may have been the motive.

April Jade worked at Biola University and had three sons, including two boys under the age of 10 with Jace. They were unharmed and are now living with relatives.

The couple were married for nine years while Mr Jace, who has another child from a previous relationship, was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman. They divorced in 2002.

The actor's other roles include a police officer in Southland and small parts in Forrest Gump, State of Play, Boogie Nights and Planet of the Apes.

The Shield ran for seven series, from 2002 to 2008, and won a Golden Globe for best television drama series in 2002.

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