Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Men Sentenced to Life in Prison on Murder-for-Hire Charges

ST. LOUIS, MO—The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that James K. Kornhardt and Steven A. Mueller were sentenced to life in prison. Both men were convicted June 14 of conspiracy to commit murder for hire and murder for hire in connection with the October 22,1992, murder of Danny Harold Coleman. James K. Kornhardt was also found guilty of obstructing justice stemming from actions taken by him to destroy a firearm, silencer and ammunition directly related to the October 22, 1992 murder.

According to evidence presented at trial, Karen Coleman recruited a prison inmate, Larry Nolan, beginning in 1990 to arrange the murder of her husband, Danny H. Coleman. Nolan recruited James Kornhardt, a firefighter with the Mehlville Fire Protection District, to commit the murder. Kornhardt recruited Mueller to assist in the murder. On October 22, 1992, Danny Coleman left work at approximately 4:00 p.m. and was later murdered by Kornhardt and Mueller in the City of Saint Louis. Danny Coleman’s body and truck were removed from the murder scene and later found burnt in an isolated field located in Franklin County, Missouri. Following Danny Harold Coleman’s death, Karen Coleman began collecting on certain insurance policies. Kornhardt and Mueller were ultimately paid for their respective roles in the murder from portions of those insurance proceeds.

Danny Coleman’s wife, Karen Coleman, pleaded guilty on June 3, 2010, to the same charges, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on August 31, 2010.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Dittmeier and Thomas Rea handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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