Firefighter, woman arrested in 1992 killing

Monday, December 15, 2008 | 4:09 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Sixteen years after Dan Coleman was killed, his wife and a suburban St. Louis firefighter face charges related to the crime.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed Monday the arrests of James Kornhardt, 49, and Kay Coleman, 55. Both are charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Kornhardt is a 16-year firefighter for the Mehlville Fire Protection District in south St. Louis County and a vice president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1889.

Both suspects were in jail Monday and unavailable for comment. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice did not know if either had attorneys and declined further comment. Calls to officials at the Mehlville fire district office were not returned.

ATF agent Jeff Fulton said both suspects were arrested Friday — Kornhardt at the fire department, Coleman at her home in Arnold. He would not discuss details of the case or say what prompted the arrests 16 years after the crime.

Dan Coleman was 38 when his body was found in his burning pickup near Stanton in Franklin County in October 1992. His body was badly burned, but authorities said he died from blows to the head and face. He was identified through dental records.

A detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday for both suspects. Fulton said the government is asking that both remain jailed without bond.

Both could face up to life in prison if convicted.

The ATF was joined in the investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis Area Major Case Squad and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

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