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Danton's agent denies he was murder target

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Danton's sports agent on Tuesday dismissed media reports that he was the target of the St. Louis Blues player's alleged murder-for-hire scheme, saying "it'll all be cleared up as soon as Mike is able to talk."

"I wasn't the target," Dave Frost said by telephone after St. Louis media outlets, quoting unidentified sources, reported Monday night and Tuesday that Frost was the person Danton sought to have killed. "I can't comment on the specifics."

A message left Tuesday with Danton's St. Louis attorney was not immediately returned.

Danton, 23, was arrested Friday -- a day after the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Blues from the NHL playoffs -- on charges that he and a 19-year-old St. Louis woman conspired and used a telephone across state lines to set up a killing.

Danton has been jailed in California pending his voluntary return to the St. Louis area. His first appearance on the Illinois federal charges was possible as early as Tuesday.

The alleged accomplice, college nursing student Katie Wolfmeyer, made her initial appearance Monday in federal court in East St. Louis, Ill. Her attorney, Donald Groshong, told a federal magistrate that his client is a "young girl smitten with a hockey player who lied to her."

Wolfmeyer was freed on $100,000 bond and scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 30.

"This is not a theft, this is not a drug case. This was a crime of violence," Stephen Clark, a federal prosecutor, said during Wolfmeyer's hearing Monday.

Clark said in court that Wolfmeyer confessed to the crime. Groshong said that was not the case, calling Wolfmeyer "a nice young girl who is the real victim in this case. She was lied to by everybody." He would not elaborate.

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI alleges that Danton tried to hire a hit man for $10,000 to murder an acquaintance at the apartment the men shared. The complaint alleged the men argued April 13 over Danton's "promiscuity and use of alcohol," and that Danton feared the acquaintance would talk to Blues management and ruin Danton's career.

On Monday, media outlets quoted law enforcement sources as saying the FBI found Frost at the player's suburban St. Louis apartment last week minutes after Wolfmeyer and a man she believed to be a hired killer had arrived there. Wolfmeyer apparently was unaware the supposed contract killer was secretly working with the FBI.

Frost told The Associated Press on Monday that Danton is in "desperate, desperate need of counseling."

"Mike is scared. He's still in a state where he doesn't actually understand what's happened," the agent said. "We're doing what we can to keep his mind-set as strong as we possibly can."

In several interviews, Danton's estranged father, Stephen Jefferson of Brampton, Ontario, has blamed Frost for his son's emotional problems.

Jefferson, who has no telephone listing and could not be reached Tuesday, has told the Toronto Star that he introduced his son, then 11, to Frost at the urging of a friend. Soon, the father said, Frost took over the boy's life.

Frost has served as Danton's agent since Danton was 15.

Danton legally changed his name two years ago from Mike Jefferson.

"That man has ruined my son's life," Jefferson told the Toronto newspaper of Frost.

Frost has only said that police have long documented the reasons behind Danton's problems. Frost again said Tuesday they are unrelated to drugs or alcohol, though he declined to elaborate.

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


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