EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- A woman charged with helping Mike Danton try to arrange a murder for hire was an unknowing "pawn"
in the pro hockey player's plans to have his agent killed, her
lawyer told jurors Tuesday.
Katie Wolfmeyer, 19, who had a brief relationship with the
former St. Louis Blues player, is charged in federal court with
conspiring to arrange a murder for hire and using a telephone
across state lines to arrange it.
"Our evidence will be that Katie was just a pawn," said her
attorney, Art Margulis, in opening statements.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark said in his opening
statement that Wolfmeyer was a willing participant in the plot to
kill Danton's agent, David Frost.
"The evidence will show she contributed to a murder-for-hire
plot so she could continue an affair ... with Mike Danton," Clark
Danton pleaded guilty in July to trying to hire a hit man for
$10,000 to kill Frost at Danton's suburban St. Louis apartment. He
faces sentencing Oct. 22. The judge in the case has ruled that
Danton does not have to testify against Wolfmeyer.
Frost was not hurt and he maintains he was not the intended
target. But authorities said Danton and Frost had argued over
Danton's alleged promiscuity and alcohol use, and Danton feared
Frost would talk to team management.
Clark told jurors Wolfmeyer was with friends on April 14 when
she received a phone call from Danton asking if she knew of anyone
who could help carry out a plot, Clark said.
Clark said Wolfmeyer gave the cell phone to Justin Levi Jones
and Danton then asked him about arranging a killing.
But as it happens, Jones, whom Wolfmeyer had just met, was a
police dispatcher from Illinois. Jones began taping conversations
with Danton and notified police, who alerted the FBI.
FBI Special Agent Martin Feely said Jones was given a disabled
gun without a firing pin in it and fitted with recording equipment
before he went to meet Wolfmeyer and head to Danton's apartment for
the planned killing.
Feely described a recording made during that ride. "She
expressed some hope that after this was over, Mr. Danton would owe
her big," he said.
Margulis said Wolfmeyer discovered it was a murder-for-hire plot
only after she took Jones to Danton's apartment.
On one recording, Wolfmeyer notes that Danton had not told her
what was going to happen.
When Jones told her he had to pick up a gun, her response was
only, "Oh, gee." Later, she said she didn't want to see the
weapon. "I don't like violence," she said.
Wolfmeyer also told Jones that Danton had never given her his
phone number. She added that "this" had better result in Danton
giving her the number.
Danton, who spent the 2003-04 season with St. Louis, was not
re-signed by the Blues.