A 27-year-old Pittsburg man was held to answer in Marin County Superior Court on Thursday to the bludgeoning murder of his ex-girlfriend Danielle Keller and the kidnapping of their year-old daughter in Novato in July.James Raphael Mitchell, son of the late Bay Area porn entrepreneur Jim Mitchell, faces a trial for murder, kidnapping, domestic violence, child abduction and child endangerment, Deputy District Attorney Charles Cacciatore said. He will re-enter pleas to the charges Dec. 4.Keller, 29, was found dead in the yard of her Diablo Court home in Novato on July 12.Mitchell is charged with beating her in the head with a baseball bat and fleeing with their daughter. He was arrested later that day by Citrus Heights police and the infant was recovered unharmed.The prosecution is seeking a first-degree murder conviction. Cacciatore said this morning evidence introduced during the two-day preliminary hearing before Judge Kelly Simmons showed Mitchell called Keller 19 times on his cell phone that day and brought a bat to her house.After beating her quickly after his arrival, he left with the child, Cacciatore said. Mitchell’s mother Mary Jane Grimm of Benicia testified Mitchell never denied the murder, Cacciatore said.Defense attorney Terence Hallinan has stated the murder was committed in the heat of passion and is manslaughter, not a first-degree slaying. Hallinan was not immediately available for comment.
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