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Actor who played police officer in TV series pleads not guilty to killing wife in Los Angeles

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2012 file photo, actor Michael Jace attends WordTheatre presents Storytales at Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Jace is due back in court on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, for arraignment on a murder charge filed after police say he shot and killed his wife, April Jace, on May 19, 2014, in their Los Angeles home. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

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FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2012 file photo, actor Michael Jace attends WordTheatre presents Storytales at Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Jace is due back in court on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, for arraignment on a murder charge filed after police say he shot and killed his wife, April Jace, on May 19, 2014, in their Los Angeles home. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - An actor who played a police officer on "The Shield" TV series pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday in the death of his wife and was ordered to stay away from his two young sons.

Michael Jace entered the plea through his attorneys and was told by a judge to stay away from his two children and not contact them if he is eventually released on $2 million bail.

Jace, 51, is accused of shooting his wife to death on May 19 in their Los Angeles home. The children, both under 10, were home at the time and unharmed.

Jace's attorney Jason Sias said his client might seek a reduction of his bail at a future hearing.

The lawyer said Jace did not contest the protective order involving his children because he wants to do what is best for them.

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

The actor is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 1 for a possible preliminary hearing involving evidence in the case.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the slaying but have said they were looking into whether financial or other domestic issues may have been involved.

The family of April Jace has called her death a senseless act of domestic violence. Police say Michael Jace called 911 to report the killing.

Audio of Jace's call has not been made public, but fire officials have released a 911 call from April Jace's father in which he says the actor told him he had shot the victim.

"My son-in-law called me, and (texted) me, and said come get the kids because he shot April, our daughter," the caller, whose name was redacted from the audio, told a fire department dispatcher.

April Jace, 40, a financial aid counsellor at Biola University, had three sons, including the two with Michael Jace.

Michael Jace also appeared on the show "Southland" and had small roles in the movies "Planet of the Apes," ''Boogie Nights" and "Forrest Gump."

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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