<
>

Danton returns to face murder-for-hire charges

ST. LOUIS -- Blues forward Mike Danton returned to the St.
Louis area from California on Monday to face charges in an alleged
murder-for-hire plot, a federal marshal said.

Danton arrived by airplane with other prisoners and received no
special treatment, said Karen Simons, chief deputy federal marshal
for the southern district of Illinois.

He was being held in the Clinton County, Ill., jail, near St.
Louis. Danton will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in an East St.
Louis federal court, U.S. Attorney Ronald Tenpas' office said.

Danton and 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer were indicted April 22 by
a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to arrange a murder
for hire and using a telephone across state lines to arrange it.

Wolfmeyer pleaded innocent Thursday and is in the custody of her
parents on $100,000 bond. Her trial is scheduled for July 13.

Danton was arrested April 16 in California, hours after the San Jose Sharks beat the Blues to eliminate them from the NHL playoffs.
His attorney, Bob Haar, has said Danton also will plead innocent. A
phone call to Haar wasn't returned.

Federal authorities said that Danton, with Wolfmeyer's help,
tried to hire a hit man for $10,000 to murder an unidentified
acquaintance at Danton's suburban St. Louis apartment. Federal
authorities said the men argued April 13 over Danton's
"promiscuity and use of alcohol." Danton allegedly feared the
acquaintance would talk to Blues management, potentially damaging
Danton's career.

Wolfmeyer was accused of passing a phone call from Danton to the
would-be hit man, who pretended to go along with the plan, but
actually went to Columbia, Ill., police; they in turn alerted the
FBI.

Authorities have refused to identify the person Danton allegedly
wanted dead. Media reports have maintained the target was Danton's
agent, Dave Frost. Frost previously has said he wasn't the target.

On Monday, Frost said he hadn't heard that Danton was back in
town. He would only say, "I just want him to get home."

Danton came to the Blues in a June trade from the New Jersey
Devils, where he had been twice suspended for disciplinary reasons.
This past season he had seven goals, 12 points and 141 penalty
minutes, which tied him for most on the team.