NOVATO, Calif.—The son of porn pioneer Jim Mitchell was found guilty by a jury Tuesday of the first-degree murder of his estranged girlfriend and mother of their one-year-old son.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The Marin County Superior Court jury deliberated less than two days before reaching its verdict. It also convicted [James Raphael] Mitchell, 29, of kidnapping, child endangerment, child abduction, domestic violence and stalking. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison.”
As reported by AVN at the start of his trial in June, Mitchell stood accused of “using a baseball bat to murder his estranged girlfriend, Danielle Keller, 29, in 2009 outside their Novato home as she held their 1-year-old son.”
Mitchell's attorney argued the killing was not premeditated and that "there was no intent to kill."
The circumstance of the crime as relayed by witnesses led the jury to conclude otherwise.
“Witnesses said when he first hit Keller with the black softball bat, she had their daughter, Samantha—who was celebrating her first birthday—in her arms,” reported the Chronicle. “Mother and child fell to the grass, and while the child cried Mitchell pounded Keller with the bat so many times the outline of her head was imprinted into the lawn, authorities said.”
Mitchell then took the child and fled in a car, but was apprehended a few hours later after police tracked him down by monitoring his cell phone usage. Despite taking the child in the commission of a crime, however, the jury declined to convict Mitchell on a charge sought by the prosecutor of murder during a kidnapping, which would have made him ineligible for parole.
As it is, Mitchell faces life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 16.
Mitchell is the son of porn legend Jim Mitchell, who ran the infamous O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco with his younger brother, Artie. The brothers produced the classic 1972 Marilyn Chambers hit Behind the Green Door, The Resurrection of Eve, Autobiography of a Flea, and Sodom and Gomorrah; along the way, they were arrested hundreds of times and successfully beat numerous obscenity charges.
Jim shot Artie to death in 1991 and was sentenced to three years in San Quentin State Prison for involuntary manslaughter. He died of a heart attack at his Sonoma County ranch home in July of 2007 at the age of 63.
Ironically, if convicted killer Jim junior serves the full term of the minimum 34 years behind bars he is eligible to receive, he, too, will be 63 when he gets out.