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Porn Star MurderedMar 25, 2004 9:30 am US/Eastern
A photographer was charged with stabbing to death a Canadian porn actress, apparently after a photo shoot with a sexual bondage theme, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Anthony Joseph Frederick, of Eagleville, Pa., was charged with first- and third-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, making false statements to police and possession of the murder weapon, which has not been found. He was ordered held without bail.
Jennifer Mitkus, 29, described by authorities as Frederick's assistant, was charged with making false statements to police and hindering apprehension. She was in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Frederick, 46, was arrested around midnight Tuesday, less than a day after the body of 23-year-old actress and model Natel King was found in a rocky, heavily wooded area near the Schuylkill River in suburban Philadelphia. She had been missing for more than three weeks.
King died of multiple stab wounds to the chest and neck and also had deep stab wounds on her hands, apparently inflicted when she tried to defend herself, District Attorney Bruce Castor said.
"Obviously, she put up a fight against her attacker," Castor said at a news conference.
He said investigators believe she may have been killed "as part of a sexual bondage fantasy" or perhaps in a dispute over money. Authorities said it was not clear exactly where and when the killing took place.
Leaving the courthouse after the arraignment, Frederick told reporters he was innocent and did not know who had killed King. "I wasn't present during the murder," he said.
Frederick allegedly told investigators he took 20 digital photos of King on Feb. 29 during several photo shoots. He and Mitkus allegedly said King was paid $900 and left. King was never heard from again and her car was found parked nearby on March 5.
Authorities said photos Frederick provided show King, also known by the stage name taylor sumers, displaying bondage paraphernalia including a gag device with a red ball and a leather strap. A similar device was attached to the head of the victim when her body was found, authorities said.
The body was wrapped in blue drape backdrops of the type used by photographers, and a can of compressed air used by photographers to blow dust off lenses was also found at the scene, authorities said.
"We feel quite confident that the circumstantial evidence points unerringly to the fact that Anthony Frederick was involved in this murder," Castor said.
A friend of King's in Canada, Curtis Shears, told detectives that King was worried because the man she was working with was "kind of weird," according to court papers.
"I asked if she was worried about not getting paid or getting killed and she said 'I don't know. Both,"' Shears said, according to the court documents.
Castor said he had not determined whether the evidence would allow the death penalty.
It was not immediately clear whether Frederick or Mitkus had lawyers.
Daniel King told The Associated Press by phone from his home in Ontario, Canada, that he had spoken with his daughter just before she vanished. "She said she was doing one last shoot and then she was heading out and she would be home by Tuesday," he said.
After weeks of worry, the family was finally told that their daughter had been found killed. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," Daniel King said.
Her family was aware of Natel King's adult film activities, which their daughter was using to help pay for college studies in psychology so she would be debt-free when she finished her education, he said.
"We did know, we did not approve of it, but Natel was Natel -- she was a very strong, very business-type person, she was also very emotional, very loving, very close to her family," he said. "She was a beautiful person, inside as well as outside."
© 2004 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.