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Jim Mitchell Trial: 1992

Admission And Verdict

The defense introduced expert forensic witnesses as well as several friends and relatives of Jim Mitchell, who testified as to his character and to the violent and threatening temper of Artie. When Jim Mitchell testified, he admitted that he had taken the rifle to Artie's house with the intention of bluffing him out of his threatening mood. He also admitted to puncturing the tires on Artie's car to prevent him from driving anywhere. He testified that his brother approached him, threatening with a pistol, and that he fired the rifle. He did not remember anything between the exchange of gunfire and being arrested on the street outside the house. He admitted that he had killed his brother, but insisted he had not intended to do so.

The prosecution asked for a first-degree murder conviction, claiming that Jim Mitchell had visited his brother with the express intention of killing him. However, the jury voted to convict Mitchell on a charge of voluntary manslaughter plus two lesser felonies for unlawfully discharging a firearm and brandishing a firearm to a police officer.

On April 24, 1992, Judge Briener handed down the sentence, after receiving over 100 letters asking for leniency. Political and police figures in San Francisco, including Mayor Frank Jordan, as well as recipients of Mitchell charity, all argued for a light sentence. The judge sentenced Mitchell to three years on the manslaughter charge and three for using a firearm in the killing. Mitchell was sentenced to 16 months to be served concurrently, for exhibiting the firearm to a police officer. Briener also issued a 4 and one-half year sentence for discharging a firearm in a negligent manner, but he stayed that sentence. Thus the total sentence was six years, of which Mitchell served over four before being paroled. He was not incarcerated while his case went through appeals.

The case was the subject of a book written by Davis McCumber, and of a Showtime movie entitled RatedX, starring real-life brothers Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen.

Rodney Carlisle

Suggestions for Further Reading

Kantor, Andrew. "Computing in the Courtroom." PC Magazine (February 23, 1993): 23.

McCumber, David. X-RatedThe Mitchell Brothers: A True Story of Sex, Money and Death. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

Schroeder, Eric. "3D Studio Gives Crime-solving a New Twist." PC Week (March 9, 1992): 51.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Jim Mitchell Trial: 1992 - The Falling Out And The Killing, The Trial, Video At The Trial, Admission And Verdict