Judge denies bond for Blues' Danton
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- The relationship between St. Louis Blues player Mike Danton and his agent continued through hours of jailhouse conversations after Danton's arrest in an alleged plot to kill the agent, an FBI agent testified Friday.
In fact, the federal judge overseeing Danton's detention hearing Friday indicated the agent, David Frost, himself could face charges of obstructing justice for trying to coach Danton through an insanity defense.
Danton, a 23-year-old forward for the Blues, is accused of persuading acquaintance Katie Wolfmeyer to hire a hitman to kill Frost. The would-be hitman instead went to authorities.
Danton was arrested April 16 in San Jose, Calif., a day after the Blues were eliminated from the playoffs. Wolfmeyer, a 19-year-old college student from suburban St. Louis, also faces murder-for-hire charges.
Danton's attorney, Bob Haar, had asked U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan to overturn a magistrate's ruling and allow Danton's release to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and treatment of an injured shoulder until his July 20 trial.
But Reagan ordered Danton to remain in jail, saying he was potentially dangerous and a risk to flee.
Danton sat quietly through the four-hour hearing but appeared to blink back tears as his lawyer recounted how Danton had talked of killing himself, and again as the judge announced his decision.
The hearing included audiotapes of messages Danton left with Wolfmeyer; messages and conversations Danton had with two would-be hitmen; and clips from 79 conversations totaling about 1,000 minutes between Danton and Frost from a California jail, where Danton was held for 12 days following his arrest.
At times, the men discussed the allegation that Danton tried to have Frost killed.
"I felt like there was no other way," Danton said.
"Are you having those feelings now?" Frost asked.
"No," Danton said.
Frost told Danton he was willing to forgive him, but asked, "The attempt to hire somebody is awful, what?" "Stupid," Danton answered.
FBI agent John Jimenez testified that Frost, sometimes speaking in code because he knew the conversations were taped, tried to coach Danton to "act emotional, act insane" as a way to avoid prison.
Reagan said the tapes "clearly indicated both Danton and Frost are potential targets for obstruction of justice charges."
Frost did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Danton's motive for deciding to have Frost killed was at least partly financial, Jimenez testified. Danton apparently owed Frost $25,000; Jimenez said informants told him that Frost had threatened to have Danton injured unless he paid up.
Danton currently faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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