How much did she know? Was Katie aware she was hiring a hitman?
The prosecutors offered her a deal. Plead guilty and serve just two years. But Katie Wolfmeyer refused.
There was no way she’d admit to any crime. She was innocent.
And now, in court, she was going to prove it.
Katie Wolfmeyer’s defence was simple. She hadn’t known anything about the crime.
And when she was cross-examined by lawyers in the busy courtroom, she repeated the point over and over.
‘I knew nothing,’ she insisted, repeatedly. ‘I knew absolutely nothing.’
But the prosecution lawyers weren’t buying any of it.
Yes, Katie Wolfmeyer was only 19 years old. But how could anyone be so naive?
She was acting, they said. Lying. Trying to manipulate the jury. Right down to the pretty purple bobbles she had in her ponytail, and the box of tissues she carried with her, covered in cute Disney cartoons.
It seemed Katie wanted the jury’s sympathy.
And, as far as the prosecution lawyers were concerned, she didn’t deserve it. Because they said she’d conspired to have a man killed.
Two years before, in 2002, Katie had been working hard as a student nurse, making ends meet with a Saturday job at the St Louis ice rink.
And that’s how she’d met him… Mike Danton.
He played ice hockey for the St Louis Blues. His team practised at the rink where Katie worked.
Straightaway, she was smitten. Who wouldn’t be?
Mike was good-looking, strong, he was going places.
They started dating. And then Mike asked Katie for her help with something.
He needed a hitman.
Without stopping to think, Katie agreed.
She headed to a local bar. And there, she got chatting to a man about Mike’s scheme.
There’d be money involved…$10,000 (around £8,000). And it’d be a zero-risk take-out.
The plan was for the hitman to break into Mike’s home while the victim was staying there. It would simply look like a robbery gone wrong.
All the assassin knew about the intended victim was that he was a man.
But it seems Katie had been stupid.
Unknown to her, the man she’d tried to talk into killing a complete stranger was Justin Levi Jones.
And Justin’s job? He worked as a police dispatcher, taking 999 calls. As soon as he could, Justin had spoken to his colleagues in the FBI.
And Mike Danton was arrested. Soon after, so was Katie Wolfmeyer.
Police investigators couldn’t establish who Mike had wanted dead. Justin’s conversations with Katie hadn’t got that far.
But there was no doubt Mike had wanted someone killed, and no doubt that Katie had tried to help him.
Some investigators believed the intended victim was Mike’s own dad Steve. Then there was Mike’s agent, David Frost.
David had promoted Mike’s hockey career since he was a teenager. But then, the men had argued.
David was worried Mike was drinking too much, spending too much time socialising, and not putting in the practice.
He’d threatened to talk to the club about it.
Had Mike wanted to silence him?
After Mike’s arrest, he pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
In return for his guilty plea, the courts agreed that the intended victim of the murder plot would never be ‘expressly revealed’.
Danton was sentenced to 90 months behind bars.
The court offered Katie a plea bargain, too.
Plead guilty to the felony charges of conspiring to commit murder and get no more than two years behind bars.
But Katie refused.
She was innocent, would never say she was guilty, even for a reduced sentence.
So when she went on trial in September 2004, Katie Wolfmeyer knew she had everything to play for.
She’d either walk free or be found guilty by a jury and face up to 10 years in jail.
Her defence was that she hadn’t known anything at all.
‘Mike didn’t tell me anything,’ she told the court.
Her lawyers said she was a good person.
She worked hard, studied hard. She even found time to go to church.
People like that don’t conspire to commit murder…
So why was Justin Levi Jones saying she’d approached him about the killing?
Justin had never met Katie before – what would he have to achieve by making up a story about her?
Justin testified that Katie knew about the murder plot.
Still, Katie denied that version of events. She said Mike had made her do it, without her realising what it was she was actually doing…
So what did she think she was doing? What did she think she was talking to Justin Levi Jones about?
Katie Wolfmeyer wouldn’t say.
‘The words murder or kill were never, ever said to me,’ she claimed.
So which story would the jury believe?
They retired to consider the case…
It took the jury just over three hours to acquit Katie Wolfmeyer of the charges.
‘I knew all along that I was innocent,’ she said afterwards.
Following her acquittal, she went back to study Nursing, and has kept out of the public eye.
Mike Danton served 65 months of his 90-month sentence, and was released in 2009.
He has returned to ice hockey, and plays for the Canadian team Riviere-du-Loup 3L.