Hockey player pleads guilty in attempted murder-for-hire plot

Friday, July 16th 2004, 1:37 pm
By: News On 6

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) _ A former professional hockey player admitted Friday that he sought to have his agent killed as part of a plot that unraveled when the would-be hit man turned out to be a police informant.

Former St. Louis Blues player Mike Danton pleaded guilty to a federal murder-for-hire conspiracy charge and could face seven to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines when he is sentenced Oct. 22.

``Obviously, this is what I think is a good result,'' prosecutor Stephen Clark said. ``I think it's a fair deal.''

Danton, 23, was to have been tried in September with co-defendant Katie Wolfmeyer, 19. He and Wolfmeyer, a college student from a St. Louis suburb, faced identical conspiracy charges, with Wolfmeyer accused of trying to hire the would-be killer of Danton's agent, David Frost.

The would-be killer _ identified by the government for the first time in court Friday as Justin Jones, a Columbia, Ill., police dispatcher _ eventually went to police, and Frost was unharmed.

The prosecutor told the Friday judge that Danton had promised to pay Jones $10,000 to kill Frost and make it appear like a botched burglary.

Investigators have said Danton was worried that Frost would go to the Blues with information that could damage his career. Frost has said he urged Danton to get help for his use of painkillers and sleeping pills and his erratic behavior.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Danton hung his head occasionally when U.S. District Judge William Stiehl outlined the case against him. He replied to the judge's questions with a ``yes'' or ``no'' before declaring, ``I plead guilty.''

Danton has been jailed since his arrest April 16 in San Jose, Calif., a day after the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Blues from the playoffs.

Wolfmeyer has pleaded innocent and is to be tried in September. Her lawyers have said she was naive young woman simply smitten with an athlete who ultimately manipulated her.

Federal prosecutors agreed to let Danton serve his possible prison time in his native Canada. U.S. District Judge William Stiehl told Danton that the agreement may bar him from re-entering the United States.