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Closing Arguments Set In Murder Trial Of Bay Area Porn King’s Son

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James Raphael Mitchell

James Raphael Mitchell (AP)

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – Attorneys were expected to give their closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of James Raphael Mitchell, who is accused of beating his ex-girlfriend Danielle Keller, 29, with a bat and kidnapping their 1-year-old daughter on her birthday two years ago.

Mitchell, 29, of Pittsburg, is the son of the late porn film producer, Jim Mitchell.

In Marin County Superior Court Tuesday, Mitchell testified two men, one in a white shirt and one in a black shirt, ran from Keller’s home and tried to kidnap his daughter.

He said struggled with the men in the side yard of the Diablo Court home in Novato soon after he arrived there on July 12, 2009, but he did not see Keller’s body or hear sounds of the beating.

“I heard a scream, ‘Helllp’. Obviously it was Danielle. I started jogging (toward the house),” Mitchell said.

Keller was beaten around 7 p.m. with a softball bat that police found close to her body. She died at the scene.

Mitchell said one of the men hit him in the back with a bat during the struggle.

The two men were trying to take his daughter, but he grabbed her from the man in the white shirt on Diablo Court, Mitchell said.

When he walked back to the house with his daughter, he heard someone say, ‘Call 911,’ Mitchell said. He decided to leave with his daughter because he was violating a restraining order Keller had against him, Mitchell said.

Mitchell testified Keller knew he was coming to her home so he could sing Happy Birthday to their daughter.

Asked by Deputy District Attorney Charles Cacciatore how he got blood on his pants, Mitchell replied, ‘I don’t know. I can’t answer that,”

Mitchell drove with his daughter to Auburn where he intended to meet with his family’s attorney Terence Hallinan.

“My father always taught me to keep my mouth shut and talk to a lawyer if you are accused of anything,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s father, strip club owner and porn film producer, Jim Mitchell, was convicted of killing his brother Artie in 1991. He died on July 12, 2007 in Petaluma.

Mitchell ran out of gas and surrendered to Citrus Heights police around midnight. His daughter was recovered unharmed.

Mitchell admitted slapping and hitting Keller on several occasions in San Francisco and in Marin County, and that he had a methamphetamine problem.

“You are a batterer, are you not,” Cacciatore asked.

“Yes I am,” Mitchell replied.

“No, I am not a murderer,” he told his attorney Stuart Hanlon at the end of his testimony.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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