In April of 2004, Mike Danton (or Mike Jefferson, depending on who you speak to) and 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer were arrested and charged with hiring a hit man to kill Mike's agent, David Frost. News reports didn't admit to Frost being the alleged target at first, but as more and more details surfaced, the more obvious it became.
The reason I'm choosing to archive this story on this site is because the parallels between this case and Sheldon's were too similar to be passed off. Not only that, but in the days following the arrest, Sheldon's name was mentioned twice in two different posts on two different boards. So I did a little research, and decided that details about the case should be posted here.
Following are the May, 2004 articles regarding the case.
Blues hockey player Mike Danton tried three times to have his agent, David Frost, killed over the past six months, a prosecutor said Friday in explaining why the government believes Danton is a "danger to the community" and should remain in jail.
Details of both the prosecution's case and Danton's defense surfaced at a detention hearing in federal court in East St. Louis, but Magistrate Clifford J. Proud focused more on how "it would be easy for (Danton) to flee" in ruling to keep Danton, a Canadian citizen, in custody before his trial.
Danton's attorney had proposed moving Danton, 23, to a secure hospital setting where a shoulder injury could be addressed and his "mental health and possible addiction to medication" could be evaluated.
Until Friday, prosecutors had been silent since Danton's arrest on April 16 about the target of the murder-for-hire plot Danton is accused in. Sources told the Post-Dispatch weeks ago that Frost was the intended target.
In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Massey told the judge the target was, indeed, Frost, and that Danton had previously attempted to hire hit men in the St. Louis area.
"The evidence in this case is strong," Massey told the judge. "This was not an isolated incident. There were three attempts in the previous six months by this defendant to contact people with the intent that a murder be committed."
Frost, who said he was in California when reached by phone Friday after the hearing, continued to deny that he was the target. Frost did acknowledge he was in Danton's apartment April 15, the night a man who authorities say was hired as a hit man - and who was cooperating with the FBI - drove there.
Frost claims there was no real target. "He did try something twice before, but it wasn't what they think it was," Frost said. "Not at all. There's a lot more going here. There's a bombshell with this, and it's going to come out. It's a lot bigger than people think."
At Friday's hearing, Danton's
attorney, Robert Haar, questioned the prosecutor's identification of
the target. Haar said that in taped
Massey responded by stating that in previous attempts, Danton gave would-be hired killers a photo of Frost.
Frost has said Danton suffered from "delusions." Frost recently added that those may have been brought on by the use of painkillers - for a shoulder injury - in combination with other medication. At the hearing, Haar confirmed that Danton used painkillers to soothe his shoulder.
A Blues official said Danton had been prescribed a painkiller, Toradol, to alleviate pain in an injured shoulder and had been given only four 10-mg dosages. He received four pills in a 12-day span before the season ended; the next morning, April 16, he was arrested in San Jose, Calif.
"We know of no other additional medication he was taking at the time," the Blues official said.
Danton said nothing publicly at the hearing, whispering only with his representatives.
Sitting in the row closest to him were his mother, Sue Jefferson, brother Tom Jefferson and aunt Linda Gebe. At an arraignment on Tuesday, Danton made no eye contact with courtroom spectators. But his mother said that on Friday, he briefly made eye contact with her.
Four of Danton's Blues' teammates attended the hearing, including Ryan Johnson, Danton's roommate during road trips. Keith Tkachuk, Bryce Salvador and Barret Jackman also sat in the front rows.
Arguing for Danton's release to a secure treatment facility, Haar described Danton's state of mind during a taped phone conversation Frost had with Danton after Wolfmeyer had been arrested. Haar said the phone call illustrated how his client had "hit rock bottom emotionally."
"It was a gut-wrenching, emotional conversation," Haar said. "This man here, Mr. Danton, is sobbing and crying. During the conversation you can hear him say how he's sick in the head. He can't do it anymore. He can't go on anymore. He is a mess. And he talks about ending his life."
Asked after the hearing if Danton is still a threat to himself, Haar said: "Obviously that is why we want him evaluated."
Despite remaining jailed, Danton could receive the mental health evaluation and treatment that his attorney sought. If a judge approves moving him for treatment, Danton would also be able to get shoulder surgery to mend muscle damage and a partially torn rotator cuff, injuries he sustained in a February game.
If Danton is convicted on murder-for-hire charges, lawyers estimate he would be sentenced to about 10 years.
Danton's family, who came into town for the hearing this week, left for their home in Brampton, Ontario, on Friday evening. Danton has been estranged from his family for more than several years, and Tuesday was the first time his mother had seen him in person for about 3 1/2 years.
On Friday, she said, she saw his eyes briefly.
"I did, I did see his eyes," Sue Jefferson said. "That was good. That was worth the trip. I had visions of them letting him come over and hug me. If that had happened, I'd have stayed forever. But it's too soon for that. Too soon."
Reporter Derrick Goold
Calling Friday night from the
Clinton County (Ill.) Jail, where he's being held on murder-for-hire
charges, Mike Danton read a statement outlining a litany of blues to
a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Lawyer Robert Haar filed papers Tuesday seeking to have Danton's detention order revoked or amended. The written motion mirrors Haar's spoken arguments at a bond hearing Friday, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud ordered Danton jailed until trial. Haar now wants a second opinion from another federal judge.
Danton, 23, a Canadian who had an apartment in Brentwood, is charged with two counts arising from an alleged murder-for-hire scheme.
At last week's hearing in court at East St. Louis, Haar made much of the "gut-wrenching, emotional" conversation between Danton and his alleged target, Danton's sports agent David Frost. In the motion, Haar said the conversation shows why Danton needs evaluation and treatment.
One difference is that the written motion provides Haar with the opportunity to cite legal precedents that he believes show that Danton has been unfairly detained.
He also noted that Danton's alleged accomplice, Katie Wolfmeyer, 19, of Florissant, is out on bond.
But Danton's largest hurdles were noted by Proud when he decided to keep Danton jailed: the hockey player has no family in the area, is a Canadian citizen, and said during a conversation with Frost that he considered fleeing from authorities.
All that prosecutors needed to keep Danton detained was to show that he was more likely to flee than not; that's what Proud decided last week.
Reporter Michael Shaw:
A federal judge in East St. Louis on Wednesday set a second detention hearing for Blues hockey player Mike Danton at the request of the defense lawyer.
A federal magistrate judge ordered Friday that Danton remain jailed until his trial for what prosecutors say was a murder-for-hire plot.
Now, a U.S. district court judge will hear the lawyer's request to have Danton moved to a secure medical facility to evaluate possible psychological or addiction problems.
The hearing is scheduled for May
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A motion filed this week in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., asks for a prompt review of federal Magistrate Clifford Proud's May 7 order holding Danton at the Clinton County, Ill., jail.
Among other things, the motion says a 40-minute government tape illustrates the urgency of Danton's need for psychological help that he is not getting in jail.
In the tape, Danton sobs and begs for help, expresses thoughts of suicide, and says "I can't go on," "I can't do this anymore," and "I'm sick in the head."
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for May 21 before federal Judge Michael Reagan. A status conference on what evidence may be presented is set for 9 a.m. Friday.
Danton's attorney, Robert Haar, had asked Proud to assign Danton to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, including possible treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, and care for an injured shoulder. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Massey told Proud that Danton is a danger to the community and a flight risk.
Proud, noting the ease in which a Canadian citizen such as Danton could cross the border, ordered Danton to remain in jail. Haar said last Friday he would continue to push for bond for his client, scheduled to be tried July 20.
The motion says prosecutors did not prove that Danton is a flight risk. It says that when Danton learned of the FBI's investigation into the case in April, he planned to surrender voluntarily but was apprehended while standing in line to board a plane to St. Louis from San Jose, Calif.
The motion also says Danton has a strong incentive to stay in St. Louis and resume his life here once the criminal case has been settled -- and that co-defendant Katie Wolfmeyer faces the same charges and already has been released on bond.
The motion goes on to say that other courts have held that "logic, humanity and law" require consideration that troubled defendants be released to a confined hospital rather than detention.
Reached Thursday, Massey declined to comment on the motion.
The federal complaint alleged that Danton and 19-year-old Wolfmeyer, of the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, conspired to arrange a hit April 14 at Danton's apartment in Brentwood.
The complaint alleges that Wolfmeyer, at Danton's urging, contacted a man they thought would kill his agent, David Frost; instead, the man went to Columbia, Ill., police, who informed the FBI.
Danton was arrested April 16 in San Jose, Calif., a day after the San Jose Sharks knocked the Blues out of the NHL playoffs.
Wolfmeyer like Danton, faces charges of plotting a murder for hire. She is free on $100,000 bond pending a trial on July 13.
Massey divulged for the first time last week the government's belief that Danton had earlier considered killing Frost. Six months earlier, Massey said, Danton had tried to contact at least two others about a possible hit.
Massey said that after authorities became aware of the April plot, Frost called Danton at the request of police, and the conversation was taped.
The FBI's criminal complaint said
Danton was concerned that his intended target, now identified as Frost,
planned to go to the Blues with information that could damage his career.
Frost has said he urged Danton to get help for his use of painkillers
and sleeping pills and his erratic behavior.
U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan ordered that no contact take place between Danton and his agent, David Frost, but said at a Friday status conference that Frost's family may continue to contact and visit the hockey player.
"Your best friends now are your attorneys," Reagan said. "It's best to keep your mouth shut."
Prosecutors had asked that Danton have "no communication, no intimidation, orally, in person or in writing" with Frost, who may be a witness at Danton's trial, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark.
A federal complaint alleges that Danton and 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer, of the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, conspired to arrange a hit April 14 at Danton's apartment in Brentwood, Mo. It says that Wolfmeyer, at Danton's urging, contacted a man they thought would kill Frost; instead, the man went to Columbia, Ill., police, who informed the FBI.
Danton pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month.
Danton's lawyer, Robert Haar, told the judge the circumstances of his client's relationship with Frost were very unusual. Frost is Danton's agent, handling his personal affairs, but Danton regards Frost and his family as the only family he has.
In a statement read from jail last week to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Danton said he suffered both emotional and physical abuse during his childhood -- allegations which his parents and family friends have disputed. In the statement, Danton thanked Frost, his friends and the St. Louis Blues organization and players before he criticized his family.
Danton grew up Mike Jefferson, but legally changed his name two years ago.
Reagan's order does allow contact between Danton and Frost on business matters, but Haar must serve an intermediary. Danton also is barred during his contacts with Frost's family from speaking about the case.
The FBI criminal complaint said Danton was concerned that his intended target, now identified as Frost, planned to go to the Blues with information that could damage his career. Frost has said he urged Danton to get help for his use of painkillers and sleeping pills and his erratic behaviour.
Also at Friday's conference, Haar asked for permission to have a psychologist visit with Danton in jail to conduct an evaluation; Reagan said he would consider the request.
Earlier this week, Danton's lawyers asked the judge to review a magistrate's earlier decision to hold their client in an Illinois jail while he awaits trial. Among other things, the motion says a 40-minute government tape illustrates the urgency of Danton's need for psychological help that he is not getting in jail.
In the tape, Danton sobs and begs for help, expresses thoughts of suicide, and says "I can't go on," "I can't do this anymore," and "I'm sick in the head."
A hearing on that motion is scheduled for May 21 before Reagan.
Danton must stop contact with
Finally, some common sense in the bizarre case of Mike Danton. Finally, someone has intervened to keep Danton and agent David Frost away from each other.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan has ordered a stop to all contact between Danton and Frost. It's about time. Prosecutors have named Frost as the intended victim of an alleged murder-for-hire plot hatched by Danton, the Blues' excitable-boy winger. So why was Frost being granted access to Danton? It was unusual, to say the least.
Frost has been a dominant figure in Danton's life, but unless Frost plans to defy the good judge's order, he'll find it difficult to tamper with Danton's head, the prosecution's case, or the strategy of Danton's defense attorney, Robert Haar. Unless Frost finds a devious way to maintain contact with Danton, Judge Reagan has put an end to a blatant conflict of interest.
Until Judge Reagan's intervention, the situation was preposterous. Danton is sitting in a jail cell, facing a possible prison sentence of 12 1/2 years if convicted. And yet it's obvious that Frost was still pulling Danton's strings.
Danton phoned the Post-Dispatch
and KMOX on May 7 to read a statement. In it, Danton assailed his parents,
accused them of neglect and abuse, and thanked Frost. (What a coincidence.)
Frost and Danton obviously coordinated the effort. Think about that for a moment. Here's Danton, alone in jail and in deep trouble. And he's still permitting at least part of his life to be handled by Frost, whom he allegedly schemed to kill. This seems to be another example of the complete mastery that Frost has over his client.
Danton's attorney, Haar, was taken by surprise. He didn't know about Danton's phone calls until reporters told him. Previously, Frost told USA Today and other media outlets that Danton was delusional and using painkillers and sleeping pills in the hours before he allegedly tried to enlist the hit man.
This was ominous. How could Haar possibly begin to prepare a defense with Frost in the middle of everything, proposing his own theories for a legal defense? Haar may ultimately base his defense on Danton's troubled state of mind. And Frost's possible role in scrambling Danton's head looms as an important consideration.
If Frost wants to make himself look good and keep himself viable as an agent for current and future clients, he needs to draw attention away from his impact in affecting Danton's disturbing behavior. And one way for Frost to do that is to depict Danton as a druggie, unaware of his actions.
That's why Judge Reagan had to keep Frost away from Danton. Putting a gag order on Frost wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Frost has been trying to spin this story since Danton's arrest. And all of the spin has been designed to show that David Frost is the concerned agent, the kindly father figure, the compassionate friend, the good guy.
Others tell different stories. Frost was called a "monster" by Danton's father. Danton's younger brother, a hockey prospect, spent time with Frost, said he felt very uncomfortable, and soon returned to his family. Frost was called a "lunatic" by Rob Ciccarelli, the owner of Danton's junior hockey team in Canada at the time. A woman who housed Danton in his junior hockey days said she was alarmed by Frost's total control over Danton.
Frost certainly doesn't want to be portrayed as the man who drove Danton to such extremes that the only way out was murder.
Who is David Frost?
Now that Judge Reagan has stepped
in to isolate Danton and protect the integrity of this case, we may
finally begin to learn the truth.
Some good reporting by Mojo Radio
in Toronto produced news yesterday and, in doing so, gave us a further
glimpse into the strange world of hockey agent David Frost.Frost has
been identified as the target in a murder-for-hire charge against his
client Mike Danton of the St. Louis Blues. But on Mojo, Frost turned
the story around to make Danton's father, Steve Jefferson, a target.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Blues player Mike Danton and his agent, David Frost, were recorded in more than 1,000 minutes of conversation in 79 phone calls from a California jail over 12 days. Here are excerpts of two of those calls, played in court Friday.
APRIL 19, call made 10:33 p.m. California time:
Frost: "Remember this: It's her (co-defendant Katie Wolfmeyer) word against yours. Do not get sucked in. Know this ... She is going to do whatever she can to get out of this. The family's ripping you. She's ripping you. So (expletive) her. She's doing whatever she can to get off ... This is absolutely impossible to win this case in a criminal court. You'll lose. Swallow that down and chew it. Seven to 10 (years in prison) without question."
(On hiring somebody to kill Frost)
Danton: "Things were not good. I felt there was no other way. Either me leave, or ...."
Frost: "Are you having these feelings now?"
Frost: "What are your feelings now?"
Danton: "It's up and down, like a roller coaster."
Danton: "We can't be talking in code like this because I'm not catching this."
Frost: "My Young Nat coach, I owe him Pascal and I want you to take care of him."
APRIL 19, call made 10:48 p.m. California time:
Frost: "What do you think I care about now?"
Danton: "Getting me off."
Frost: "I want you to be OK. We can never have you feeling like this again."
Frost: "Make sure you express remorse for the call, but not remorse for the way you feel...."
Danton: "What am I supposed to say when the lawyers ask why did you order this?"
Frost: "It is not an option to go to court. If we go to court, you are (expletive) done. Are we clear? This is going to be a negotiation - that we've already started."
Danton: "I don't know what you're saying.... (Expletive) the code, man."
Frost: "Then you're going to spend 10 years in jail."
Danton: "No, I'm not. It's not going to happen."
Frost: "You have to allow your emotion to be real."
Frost: "Your attempt to hire somebody was - "
Court hears Danton-Frost phone
There was no was no explanation in court of why there would be any shooting at all. Frost is heard making halting attempts to speak in what appeared to be a code, which Danton often failed to understand. Frost referred to himself as the "Young Nat coach," an apparent reference to Frost coaching Danton on a youth hockey team known as the Toronto Young Nationals. Frost pressed Danton several times on why he wanted the 'Nat coach' killed. "God, you must've wanted that 'Nat guy' gone, huh?" Frost asked, followed by a long pause. "Did you?" "No," Danton responded meekly. They later spoke of "Pascal," which authorities believe is a reference to Danton teammate Pascal Rheaume, who wore jersey No. 25. Jimenez, the FBI agent, said that was believed to be a reference to $25,000 that authorities claim Frost demanded from Danton. The money is one possible motive for a murder conspiracy, Jimenez said, among the others suggested so far in the case. Haar, Danton's lawyer, said he heard nothing in the recordings suggesting that Danton had obstructed justice.
"Mr. Frost is the dominant person in this relationship," Haar told the judge. "Mr. Frost is the one directing that things be done." Other than to say that there's no debt owed to him from Danton, Frost referred questions to his lawyer, Barry Short of St. Louis. "David Frost has not obstructed justice in any fashion," said Short, who was hired before Frost appeared before the grand jury last month. "I have no knowledge that any charges will be filed."
Besides the jailhouse phone calls, authorities played recordings of voice mail messages Danton left for Wolfmeyer and for someone authorities described as a potential hit man from an earlier attempt to have Frost killed. The FBI says Danton relied on Wolfmeyer to find him a hit man. Based on this new evidence, Clark recalculated Danton's maximum penalty at about 24 years in prison, if convicted. That was more than twice the original estimate, inflated under federal sentencing rules by the obstruction of justice allegations and claims that Danton was ringleader of a conspiracy that included at least four others. Those four would include Wolfmeyer, of Florissant, who faces the same charges as Danton; the hit man she is alleged to have tried to hire, who turned the plot in to the FBI; and two confidential witnesses who both told the FBI that Danton wanted them to kill Frost.
Authorities apparently are still gathering evidence in the case. FBI Agent Jimenez said he had interviewed Danton's teammate, Ryan Johnson, two days ago, shortly before Johnson testified before a grand jury in East St. Louis. Before concluding the hearing, Judge Reagan again admonished Danton not to speak about his case to anyone but his lawyers. Despite Haar's concern that Danton may be suicidal and "emotionally isolated," the judge prohibited Danton from speaking with what has been his support group: Frost's family or another Frost client, Danton's best friend, Sheldon Keefe. The judge had already barred Danton from direct contact with Frost.
"With clear and convincing evidence, the government established that the defendant may have engaged in obstruction of justice," Reagan said. "Both Danton and Frost are potential targets for a conspiracy charge for obstruction of justice for manufacturing of a defense and manufacturing of evidence."
Reporter Michael Shaw: E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 618-235-3988 Reporter Derrick Goold E-mail:
email@example.com Phone: 314-340-8285
David Frost barred from junior
Frost served as an assistant coach for at least three games in March when Kevin Abrams, the Lumber Kings' general manager, head coach and minority owner, was suspended for one game after a brawl in a playoff game. The matter also illustrates a significant loophole in Hockey Canada's rules regarding coaches, general managers and trainers. Hockey Canada, which governs the country's amateur ranks, requires players to sign a branch transfer, according to MacLean. The transfer card lists information on any suspensions, which means another league in Canada likely would honour the suspension. However, coaches, general managers and trainers are not required to sign such a card, MacLean said.
"I would have thought Hockey Canada would have learned a lesson from the Graham James case," MacLean said, referring to the junior coach in Alberta who was jailed for sexual abuse. "You and I could be suspended in Ontario, go coach in Alberta or B.C., say nothing, and they have no way of knowing. "That's wrong. It's something that has to be cleaned up." Sheldon Keefe, another Frost client, owns the Lumber Kings.
Two weeks ago, Frost was prohibited from contacting St. Louis Blues forward Mike Danton, who remains in jail after being accused of plotting to kill Frost, his agent. Danton, who was named by Keefe as a director of the Lumber Kings, has remained in jail since his arrest on April 16. The government alleges Danton and 19-year-old Katie Wolfmeyer conspired to arrange a "hit" on Frost at Danton's apartment in Brentwood, Mo. Frost has publicly denied that he was the target of the alleged murder scheme.
Courtesy CBC with files from Canadian Press