Board fires MFPD employee facing federal charges

A Mehlville Fire Protection District employee in custody since December on federal murder-for-hire charges has been fired by the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to fire James K. Kornhardt of Dittmer, who was arrested Dec. 12 at the district’s Firehouse No. 5 on Mueller Road in Green Park by agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Kornhardt, a Mehlville firefighter since 1992, was placed on unpaid administrative leave by the Board of Directors the day of his arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Kornhardt was vice president of Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. His term as vice president ended Dec. 31.

In December, Kornhardt and Karen K. Coleman of Arnold were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to the murder of her husband, Danny Coleman, in October 1992. In April, Steven A. Mueller of Oakville, who ran unsuccessfully for the MFPD board in April 2005, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the murder-for-hire case. He is accused of assisting Kornhardt in Danny Coleman’s murder, according to the indictment.

Mueller, Kornhardt and Karen Coleman have been indicted on one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire and one felony count of murder for hire. All three have pleaded not guilty and are in federal custody.

Regarding the Aug. 20 vote to fire Kornhardt, Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer said, “In December, we had voted to suspend him without pay. Since that time, there have been many developments regarding Mr. Kornhardt and the board felt it prudent to sever his ties with the district on Thursday evening.”