St. Louis Blues Mike Danton

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by waggie945, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. From Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer:

    A St. Louis Blues hockey player was arrested Friday in San Jose on an Illinois warrant charging him with a murder-for-hire plot, federal law enforcement officials said.

    Blues center Michael Danton was heading home Friday afternoon with his team after losing a first-round playoff series to the San Jose Sharks when FBI agents arrested him at Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport. He was being held without bail Friday night in Santa Clara County Jail, where he declined requests for interviews.

    Danton, 23, just completed his first full season in the National Hockey League and led his team in penalty minutes. He came to the Blues after a troubled tenure with the New Jersey Devils, where he refused to report to the minor leagues and was subsequently suspended by the team.

    Danton was arrested on a federal criminal complaint, dated Friday, charging him with using a telephone to try to arrange a killing in the Blues' home state of Missouri. Charged along with Danton was his 19-year-old girlfriend, Katie Koester Wolfmeyer of Florissant, Mo.

    According to the complaint, an unnamed tipster told the FBI that Danton had called Wolfmeyer's cell phone Wednesday and said somebody was coming from his home country of Canada to kill him. Danton allegedly asked Wolfmeyer whether she knew anyone willing to kill his would-be assassin for $10,000.

    The tipster, who was with Wolfmeyer at the time, told the FBI that Wolfmeyer had handed over her cell phone and that Danton had reiterated the request. Danton allegedly said the person he wanted killed was a Canadian "hit man" seeking him out over an old debt.

    According to the complaint, the tipster asked Danton to call back with more details, and Danton did so, calling the tipster in Monroe County, Ill., from San Jose early Friday.

    In the call, which the complaint indicates was recorded, Danton allegedly told the tipster that Wolfmeyer could direct the tipster to Danton's apartment, where the tipster could kill the "hit man," ideally by making it look like a botched robbery.

    Danton allegedly told the tipster that there was $3,000 in his apartment safe as a down payment for the killing, and that Danton would meet the tipster later with the rest of the payment.

    "When the thing goes down, you know, obviously, I don't want to know anything about it," Danton told the tipster, according to the complaint.

    He rejected the tipster's idea to commit the killing elsewhere, saying he wanted the killing done in his apartment so he could see the body himself, the complaint says.

    "The only way that I'm going to be able to sleep tonight is knowing that the guy trying to kill me is done himself," Danton allegedly told the tipster.

    The tipster called the FBI, according to the complaint, and then went with Wolfmeyer to Danton's apartment in Brentwood, Mo. When they got there, they were stopped by a security guard, who called up to Danton's apartment.

    At that point, according to the complaint, an "acquaintance" of Danton's came to the railing of the apartment balcony and asked who the visitors were, identifying himself as Danton's father. Startled, the tipster drove away.

    The complaint does not say whether the acquaintance was in fact Danton's father.

    According to the complaint, the tipster spoke to Danton after the encounter and said the hit had been "botched."

    The complaint leaves open the issue of whether there really was a hit man. Authorities tracked down the alleged target, who told investigators that he and Danton had argued Tuesday about Danton's promiscuity and drinking, the complaint said.

    "Danton begged the acquaintance not to go to the general manager of the St. Louis Blues hockey organization and ruin his career," the complaint said.

    Friday, as the FBI listened in, the acquaintance called Danton and asked why he wanted him killed, according to the complaint.

    "Danton broke down and sobbed," the complaint says. "Danton explained he felt backed into a corner and also felt the acquaintance was going to leave him. Danton did not want to allow the acquaintance ( male ) to leave him, therefore decided to have him murdered."

    Chronicle staff writer Ross McKeon contributed to this report.E-mail Matthew B. Stannard at