Porn Czar's Son Murder Arraignment

July 15, 2009 11:08:05 AM PDT
Two families faced each other for the first time Tuesday following the beating death of a Novato mother. Both the victim and the accused killer's family are trying to come to grips with what happened. The story is a sad one on many levels. A lot of emotion was released Tuesday in a Marin County courthouse when the accused killer appeared for his arraignment.

Claudia Stevens held up a picture of her murdered daughter in the hallway of the courthouse. She wanted everyone to see just how beautiful she was. 29-year-old Danielle Keller was killed Sunday evening in the backyard of Steven's Novato home. Her former boyfriend James Mitchell was charged with the murder.

Keller had sole custody of their child Samantha who just turned one on Sunday.

"James Mitchell had struck my daughter with a baseball bat several times while Samantha was in his arms," Keller told ABC7.

Not far from Stevens and her daughter's friends, Mitchell's family members were talking with former district attorney and family friend Terence Hallinan. He knew the suspect's father, the late James Mitchell, who served time in prison for murdering his brother Artie in 1991.

The two brothers owned the O'Farrell Theatre and were pioneers in the adult film industry. Artie's son Storm was at the courthouse Tuesday.

"It's almost like another nail in the coffin so to speak. It's just a horrible, horrible thing for everyone involved, both families," he said.

Hallinan said it was like the Mitchell family was cursed.

"It seems like one after another, the uncle, the father and now this woman. You know it's just a tragic family," he said.

Stevens spoke on the phone Tuesday with the grandmother of her daughter's accused killer.

"She really didn't say anything about Danielle," she said. "It was all about James and how he had a rough life and how unfortunate it was."

Stevens says she wants to raise little Samantha.

"It's tragic that Samantha's going to grow up without her mother. But, she's got me," she said.

Samantha remains in the custody of Child Protective Services and there has been no decision on her future. Mitchell's arraignment was continued until Wednesday at which time he is expected to enter a plea.


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