<
>

Report: Agent the apparent target

Law enforcement sources have told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that sports agent Dave Frost was the target of an alleged murder-for-hire plot arranged by his client, Blues forward Mike Danton.

The identity of the target has been a mystery since charges were filed against Danton on Friday, a day after the San Jose Sharks beat the Blues 3-1 to eliminate St. Louis from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Danton remained jailed in California as of Wednesday pending extradition to the St. Louis area.

Frost has denied that he was a target and refused to discuss specifics of the case in an interview with the Post-Dispatch on Monday.

"The lawyers are the ones who will have to comment about the specifics of that night," he told the newspaper.

However, according to the Post-Dispatch's law enforcement sources, the FBI found Frost at Danton's apartment in Brentwood, Mo., about midnight Thursday. Minutes later, the 19-year-old suburban St. Louis woman accused of helping to set up the hit arrived there with a man she believed to be a hired killer. That man had reported the alleged plot and was secretly working with the FBI.

Another law enforcement source not identified by the newspaper confirmed that the FBI brought Frost to the Brentwood police station to talk with him, Danton's accused accomplice, Katie Wolfmeyer, and the informer.

"Once the whole thing shakes down, everyone will understand exactly all of the circumstances of what happened," Frost told the Post-Dispatch. "When the smoke clears, everyone will know what Mike was thinking and what really happened."

On Wednesday the Post-Dispatch, citing an unidentified source, identified the hit man as a 19-year-old dispatcher for the Columbia, Ill., police department.

Danton enlisted Wolfmeyer to find a hit man to help find a killer, and the newspaper reported that Wolfmeyer turned to Justin Levi Jones -- even though she knew where he worked.

Jones, when contacted at home by the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday, said he could not discuss the case. It was not clear how Wolfmeyer knew Jones.

On Monday, Frost told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Danton is in dire need of psychological counseling.

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

Wolfmeyer was released on $100,000 bond Monday, the Post-Dispatch reported. Danton and Wolfmeyer face federal charges of conspiring and using a telephone across state lines to set up a murder. According to the criminal complaint, Danton told Wolfmeyer that a hit man from Canada was coming to kill him and asked her if she knew someone who would kill the person for $10,000.

Robert Haar, Danton's St. Louis-based attorney, told the Post-Dispatch that the process of extraditing Danton from California could take "two to three weeks."

"I suspect [Danton will be moved] much quicker than that," Haar told the paper.


Ronald Tenpas, the U.S. attorney for Illinois' southern district, said Tuesday that Danton will remain in the custody of federal marshals until they return him to Illinois when their extradition schedule permits.

That return could be within days but more likely will take a week to two weeks, Tenpas said.

According to the Post-Dispatch, it is believed that Wolfmeyer knew Danton through her job at the Blues' practice rink. Court documents cited by the newspaper said she had a "personal relationship" with him.

A possible motive for killing Frost remains unclear. The complaint alleges that Danton was trying to kill a male acquaintance whom he had fought with Tuesday over Danton's "promiscuity and use of alcohol," though authorities have dismissed that characterization. The complaint said Danton feared the acquaintance, who is not identified, would talk to Blues management and ruin Danton's career.

"There is a story behind the story which will be told eventually," Frost's lawyer, Michael Edelson, told the paper. "Other than that, I have no comment. We're not going to try this in the press."

According to the Post-Dispatch, Frost has been banned from two junior hockey leagues in Canada for "having a strong influence over a core of young players."

Danton's father, Stephen Jefferson, said Frost is a "monster" and blamed him for his poor relationship with his son. Frost told the Post-Dispatch that Jefferson was the controlling figure in Danton's life. The player has been estranged from his family for some time and changed his name from Jefferson to Danton in the summer of 2002.

St. Louis acquired Danton in June from the New Jersey Devils, where he had been twice suspended for disciplinary reasons. He sat out all of the 2001-02 season and played in just 17 games in 2002-03.

This season, Danton had seven goals, 12 points and 141 penalty minutes -- tied for most on the team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.