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LL Cool J burglary suspect pleads not guilty

The transient who allegedly broke into the Studio City home of actor LL Cool J pleaded not guilty Tuesday to burglary charges that could send him to prison for decades.

Jonathan Kirby, 56, was charged with residential burglary with a person present, which in combination with his criminal history could result in significant prison time -- perhaps as much as 38 years in state prison., if convicted. He was ordered held on $1.1-million bail and has a September court hearing.

Authorities are investigating whether he  is responsible for other burglaries in the Studio City area.

A Texas native, Kirby has a record of convictions for theft, disorderly conduct and other criminal activity across Los Angeles and Orange counties. The L.A. County district attorney said he also has a voluntary manslaughter conviction in Texas in 1988. Details of the case were not immediately available.

Court and prison records indicate Kirby was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary in the 1990s and three years in prison for petty theft in 2005. He also has another theft conviction for which he served jail time, records show. He was discharged from prison on Feb. 1.

LL Cool J, who rose to fame with the hit song "Mama Said Knock You Out" and portrays a special agent on the CBS drama "NCIS: Los Angeles," proved life imitates art and nabbed the alleged burglar inside his expansive house.

When Los Angeles police arrived at the Blairwood Drive home around 1 a.m. Wednesday, LL Cool J had detained the battered and bruised suspect.

LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, told police he was upstairs in his home when he heard a noise coming from the kitchen area. When he went to investigate, a man came at him, leading to the fight, police said.

During what several sources described as a brawl, Kirby suffered a broken nose, jaw and ribs. The actor, who was not injured, later told authorities that he acted out of concern for his family. Law enforcement sources say detectives believe the actor acted in self-defense.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

 
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