Blues' Danton to Plead Not Guilty to Charges
Saturday, April 24, 2004; Page D02
St. Louis Blues forward MikeDanton will plead not guilty to federal charges that he tried to hire a hit man to kill an acquaintance, his lawyer said yesterday.
"The complaint tells a very bizarre, incomprehensible story that's inconsistent with what all of Mike Danton's teammates and those close to him know about him," attorney Bob Haar said. "We will be entering a plea of not guilty at the time of the arraignment."
It is uncertain when the arraignment will occur. Danton, arrested in San Jose a day after the Sharks beat the Blues to eliminate them from the NHL playoffs, remains in federal custody.
Haar said the U.S. Marshal's Service, partly for security reasons, does not disclose when a suspect will be moved.
"All we have gotten is very rough predictions from a couple of days to a couple of weeks," Haar said. "Unfortunately, it's not a process we have any influence over."
On Thursday, a federal prosecutor said Danton was being brought back to Illinois to face the charges.
Danton and an alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer, of the St. Louis suburb Florissant, were indicted Thursday 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 was freed Monday to the custody of her parents on $100,000 bond.
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 and ruin Danton's career.
Wolfmeyer was accused of contacting the would-be hit man, who alerted the FBI.
Blues players released a statement Thursday in support of their teammate, saying they wanted to "tell everyone about the player and person we know. The media's portrayal of Mike has not been balanced and has not accurately reflected the character of the person we have spent the past 215-plus days with."
-- From News Services
© 2004 The Washington Post Company