Danton pleads guilty in murder-for-hire case

NHL player Mike Danton pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire conspiracy charge in a U.S. court Friday.

The former St. Louis Blues forward could face seven to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 US in fines when he is sentenced on Oct. 22.

Danton, a native of Brampton, Ont., admitted that he sought to have his agent, David Frost, murdered. The plan unravelled when the would-be hitman turned out to be a police informant.

Frost, who was never harmed, has frequently denied he was the target.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, the U.S. government dropped a related charge against Danton of making a telephone call in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.

The judge has 30 days to decide the length of Danton's sentence. U.S. prosecutors have agreed to let the 23-year-old hockey player serve any possible prison time in Canada.

"Obviously, this is what I think is a good result," said federal prosecutor Stephen Clark. "I think it's a fair deal."

Danton, who has been jailed since his April 16 arrest in San Jose, Calif., said little during Friday's court appearance. Wearing an orange prison-issue jumpsuit, he replied to the judge's questions before declaring: "I plead guilty."

Danton's co-defendant Katie Wolfmeyer, 19, has pleaded not guilty and will be tried in September. She attended her pretrial hearing on Monday.

Danton and Wolfmeyer faced identical conspiracy charges, with Wolfmeyer accused of helping hire a person to kill Frost.

The government identified the would-be killer for the first time Friday as Justin Jones, a police dispatcher from Columbia, Ill.

Clark told the judge that Danton agreed to pay Jones $10,000 to kill Frost.

Jones ultimately informed police of the plot. He then secretly taped conversations he had with both Danton and Wolfmeyer.

Clark declined to say how Danton's guilty plea may affect Wolfmeyer's case.

Donald Groshong, one of Wolfmeyer's lawyers, said he hoped Danton's admission "may lead the government to reconsider its position and do the honorable thing and dismiss its case" against his client.

Wolfmeyer's lawyers have portrayed the college student as a naive young woman who was manipulated by a professional athlete.

with files from Canadian Press