Danton returns to St. Louis to face charges

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

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 this 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 went to Columbia, Ill., police; they in turn alerted the FBI.

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