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Porn Brother Mitchell’s Kid Sentenced to 35 years

From YNOT.com  – Last-minute courtroom histrionics failed to spare the 29-year-old son of a porn pioneer the maximum sentence for brutally slaying his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping their year-old daughter.

James Raphael “Rafe” Mitchell, son of San Francisco porn legend Jim Mitchell, called the victim’s mother a drunk and the court proceedings a circus shortly before Judge Kelly Simmons sentenced him to 35 years to life in prison for the 2009 murder of Danielle Keller, 29. During the trial, the jury heard in gory detail how Mitchell beat Keller to death with a baseball bat, bludgeoning her so hard that her skull left an imprint in her mother’s Novato, California lawn. Keller held her child in her arms during the attack.

Mitchell subsequently fled with the baby, who had celebrated her first birthday earlier that day, sparking a five-hour manhunt before he ran out of gas and police apprehended him. The child was unharmed.

On July 12, a jury convicted Mitchell of first-degree murder, kidnapping, child endangerment, child abduction, domestic violence and stalking. The sentence Simmons handed down on Tuesday included 26 years to life for the murder plus nine additional years for the other charges. The terms are the maximum allowed under California law.

Mitchell proclaimed his innocence throughout the proceedings, telling the court he drove from his home in Philadelphia to visit his daughter, only to encounter two unknown men assaulting Keller. Mitchell said he attempted to fend off the alleged attackers before deciding to escape with his daughter in order to protect the child.

The jury bought none of Mitchell’s testimony. In response, during the pre-sentencing hearing, Mitchell railed against “the disgusting people in Marin County,” insisted the court relied on “hearsay from a drunk like [the victim’s mother” and called the proceedings a “perversion of justice.”

“I am not responsible for Danielle’s death,” he swore just before the judge passed sentence.

Mitchell also tried to convince the jury the charges against him had less to do with what prosecutors called an escalating cycle of domestic violence than with his family’s scandalous business. Rafe Mitchell’s father, Jim Mitchell, suffered a fatal heart attack at 63 on his Sonoma County ranch, almost four years to the day before Rafe Mitchell’s murder conviction. In 1991, the elder Mitchell began a three-year sentence in San Quentin after conviction of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his younger brother and business partner, Artie Mitchell. The brothers owned and operated the infamous O’Farrell Theater in San Francisco, a popular and controversial adult movie venue in the 1970s. In addition to running the theater and several strip clubs, the Mitchell brothers also produced the 1972 Marilyn Chambers star vehicle Behind the Green Door and the porn classics The Resurrection of Eve, Autobiography of a Flea and Sodom and Gomorrah.

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