Danton's agent: There's no gay lover

Man that Blues forward allegedly planned to kill sought to `leave' him

Hockey

April 18, 2004|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

NEW YORK - St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton remained in a California jail yesterday, facing charges in a murder-for-hire plot as speculation raged that he wanted to silence a friend who threatened to publicly expose him as a homosexual.

Danton's agent, however, said his client has been suffering from depression and other mental health problems, and denied the arrest was related to a fear of being outed as a gay man.

"This has nothing to do with a gay lover or his relationship with any female," Dave Frost, Danton's agent, told the Daily News. "We're going to get him some help, some treatment. He's had some issues from his younger years that he needs to deal with."

Danton, 23, was arrested at 8 a.m. Friday at the airport in San Jose by police and agents from San Francisco's FBI division, hours after the Blues were knocked out of the playoffs by the Sharks on Thursday night.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that Danton had agreed to extradition, and that he was being moved from a California jail to St. Louis.

Danton has a turbulent background and has been estranged from his family, changing his name from Mike Jefferson to Danton in 2002. "When somebody changes his name, that's pretty drastic," Frost said.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Springfield, Ill., Danton and 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer tried to hire someone to kill an unnamed "acquaintance" of the hockey player after the man threatened to ruin Danton's career by telling Blues management about his "promiscuity and use of alcohol."

The complaint also said the player felt the man was planning to "leave Danton."

"Once this story comes out, people are going to realize it's a simple thing," Frost said. "Psychologically, Mike's not where he needs to be. He's in a state of depression. He's in a state of paranoia. There was no fear of [Blues general manager] Larry Pleau. No fear of a gay lover."

Danton's teammates, meanwhile, had trouble grasping the news about their teammate's arrest. "It's beyond shock," forward Doug Weight told the Associated Press.

Danton and Wolfmeyer face federal charges of conspiring and using a telephone across state lines to set up a murder. According to the 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. Wolfmeyer connected him with another man, described in the complaint as a "cooperating witness."

In phone calls Wednesday and Thursday, Danton allegedly instructed that person on how to conduct the killing - at Danton's apartment in Brentwood, Mo. According to the complaint, Danton eventually admitted his motive was to keep the acquaintance from leaving him.

According to Frost, Danton has retained two attorneys and will petition the court to remand him to a treatment facility as soon as possible in lieu of possibly releasing him on bond.

"It's time to put hockey on the side and worry about his health," Frost said.

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