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Mitchell Convicted of First-Degree Murder of Novato Woman

Porn heir could spend life in prison for killing ex-girlfriend Danielle Keller.

After two days of jury deliberation, the man suspected of killing Novato resident Danielle Keller with a softball bat exactly two years ago was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday in Marin County Superior Court.

of Pittsburg, heir to the San Francisco-based Mitchell Brothers pornography empire, faces 34 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 16, said Deputy District Attorney Charles Cacciatore.

Mitchell, 29, also was found guilty of stalking and domestic violence. The jury did not convict Mitchell of the special circumstance of murder during a kidnapping.

Cacciatore said the verdict reflects "the seriousness with which we treat domestic violence cases here in Marin County."

"We want to make sure the victims take steps to get out of violent relationships and know they will have the assistance of the Marin County courts when they make that decision," Cacciatore said.

Mitchell said in court last week that two other men attacked him outside of Keller's home on the day she was found beaten to death. He told the jury he was not a murderer.

The verdict was delivered exactly two years — almost to the hour — after the killing on Diablo Court, across Diablo Avenue from . The verdict came four years to the day after Mitchell's father died, which Mitchell testified troubled him greatly.

Mitchell testified that he took his 1-year-old daughter away from the Diablo Court home of Keller, the daughter’s mother, for the baby’s own safety following the attack and because he didn’t want to deal with the police since he was on probation.

Mitchell, a part-time college student a film director, has been in jail since he was arrested in suburban Sacramento on the night of the killing following an Amber Alert manhunt. When he was arrested, he had blood on his clothes and his blood-sprayed daughter was in the car without a car seat or diapers. The baby was unharmed in the incident and lives with a relative.

Mitchell was charged with killing Keller, 29, by repeatedly hitting her head with a softball bat and taking the baby from under her bludgeoned body. During his testimony, he said he didn't know how his blood got on the bat.

Mitchell testified that he fought off two men who killed Keller and tried to take their daughter from the residence as he arrived to celebrate the girl's first birthday.

The prosecution claimed the slaying was the culmination of a series of domestic violence incidents committed by Mitchell against Keller. Mitchell admitted to habitual drug use over a 10-year-period before the killing.

— Bay City News Service. Brent Ainsworth of Novato Patch contributed to this report.

Steven Norwin July 13, 2011 at 12:32 AM
After the Casey Anthony case I was starting to get worried. So glad the jurrors made the right decision. Now maybe Danielle Keller can rest in peace!
Tom S Baker July 13, 2011 at 02:59 AM
Steven, Have you ever been on a jury ? This jury was given blood on a bat with his fingerprint and much more. What was given in the Anthony trial ? Nothing , this is why the result was Not Guilty I also think she was guilty but with what was said they needed to vote NOT GUILTY
Steven Norwin July 13, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Homer, yes I have been on jury three times. One of those times I was on a grand jury to bring a formal accusations/indict someone for murder. I Learned alot about the system. By the way, who would duct tape a 3 yr olds mouth shut if she accidentally drowned? Not guilty or GUILTY?
Stella July 23, 2011 at 04:35 AM
This guy is a scum bag. He deserves life. Sure his family is filthy rich, was in the military, and he fathered his little girl but that didn't give him the right to kill Danielle. Her death should not be in vain. Laws should be changed so that a woman in an abusive relationship is taken more seriously and more done to protect her from her abuser regardless. And take away parental rights of the abuser making it harder for him or her to keep a hold on someone like perhaps in Danielle's case. In doing this both the children and the mother are protected from an abusive crazed "I do it because I can" bully like this guy. My daughter and my little granddaughter have been in a similar relationship since October ‘08. Two years have passed since my daughter told him to go but he had already both physically and emotionally hurt my daughter even during her pregnancy.... He could show up as he has threatened to on my granddaughter's birthday. It is in 3 weeks. He hasn't returned since her 1st BD but in his absence he still has an unpredicted turn of events in their lives. I pray. Rest in peace Danielle. I see you as part of the " light" that will open a better world for women who are being abused. They do not have to be alone like you were on that day. In the new world guys like your husband will be locked away before they can be allowed to kill. I am so sorry more couldn't be done for you
James April 05, 2013 at 09:51 PM
I went to high school with some of this guys' relatives. Wish they would all be put away.

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