Parole board ruled Danton 'very low risk'

By MONTY MOSHER Sports Reporter
Fri. Jan 15 - 4:46 AM

The National Parole Board determined that former NHL player Mike Danton was a low risk to reoffend when it granted him full parole last September.

Danton, a Brampton, Ont., native who has enrolled at Saint Mary’s University and aspires to play for the hockey Huskies this semester, was convicted in 2004 in the U.S. of conspiracy to commit murder and served more than five years in a federal prison. He was transferred to a Canadian prison last March.

The 29-year-old Danton arrived in Halifax on Wednesday and began classes on Thursday, according to the university.

In documents obtained Thursday, the parole board asserted that Danton no longer has the problems he had in 2004 when he was a member of the St. Louis Blues.

"If you were not mentally healthy at the time in 2004, there is evidence that this is no longer the case," parole board documents say. "You are considered to be a very low risk for any type of reoffending, and there is no evidence that you harbour any ill will toward your father, the person you claim was the target of your crime. The board believes this to be the case."

The board acknowledged Danton’s case as "somewhat strange or even bizarre."

"You were a young man with no prior criminal history. Indeed, you had recently embarked on a professional hockey career and appeared to have no cares or concerns. However, it is evident that there was a darker side to this image, a side that seems to have begun in childhood; one that ate away at your sense of self-worth and ability to trust in people.

"Ultimately, this led to your sadly mistaken notion that you were in grave danger, and your decision to end the fears that plagued you by conspiring to have killed the man you considered to be at the heart of your problems."

Danton pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hit man for $10,000 to kill David Frost, his agent and former coach and someone with whom he’d had a long mentoring relationship. But Danton has maintained more recently his target was his father, Steve Jefferson, from whom he has been estranged since his teenage years.

"As noted, you pled guilty, and in the U.S. court documents, no person is named as the potential victim. File information suggests that the victim was David Frost, who was at your apartment, and was a person with whom you have had a long and close relationship. Until today, you have declined to provide any insight into this or to explain your actions.

"However, at the hearing, and after much hesitation, you said that you believed that your biological father had intended you harm and had travelled to St. Louis to kill you. You clearly understand that this was never actually a possibility, and that you were acting on a combination of emotional distress, a sense of paranoia and the abuse of drugs, in combination with your recollection of the abuse that you claim to have suffered at the hands of your father."

The board noted that the therapy Danton has participated in since his conviction has led to a "growing sense of maturity" and an increasing sense of trust in others. The board said it believes Danton’s earlier immaturity had to do with the "level of control exerted by Mr. Frost during your formative years."

In addition to the parole board’s standard release conditions, it imposed additional restrictions barring Danton from drinking alcohol, possessing or consuming illegal drugs, or using over-the-counter medications improperly. He is also to continue with psychological counselling.

He is not allowed to have contact with his father unless it is within the confines of his counselling, and he may come face to face with Frost only with the permission of his parole officer and his therapist.

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