Alleged kidnappers-for-hire get wrong address, wrong person
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said.
But they had the wrong address and when the prosecutor's father answered the door, they took him instead.
For five days, authorities said the kidnappers held 63-year-old Frank Janssen captive in an Atlanta apartment, tormenting his family by sending text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if police were called or their demands weren't met. They even sent a photo of him tied up in a chair.
On Tuesday, an indictment charged nine people in Janssen's abduction, including 49-year-old Bloods member Kelvin Melton, who authorities said was calling the shots by cellphone from his North Carolina prison cell. Janssen's daughter, Wake Forest assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen, prosecuted Melton in 2012 for his role in the shooting of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.
Court records show Melton has a long record of felony convictions in New York, the first being a 1979 robbery committed when he was 14. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery in 1998 and served more than 13 years in New York prisons before being released in August 2011.
His conviction in North Carolina sent him to prison for life. Authorities said he wanted revenge.
At first, Melton wanted the kidnappers to travel to Louisiana to abduct a family member of his court-appointed attorney from his 2012 trial. He arranged in March for each member of that kidnapping team to receive about $10,000, according to the indictment, but at some point, for reasons not explained in court documents, they called it off.
In late March or early April, Melton called again. This time he wanted a team assembled to "kidnap the ADA," who was identified in the indictment as a "Wake County Assistant District Attorney."
One of the team members used the Internet to look up Colleen Janssen's address but actually found her father's home in Wake Forest, about 15 miles north of Raleigh.
Early on April 5, four of the kidnappers left the Atlanta area for North Carolina. Melton called them several times while they were on the road, at one point asking to be put on speaker phone to give them specific instructions. He told them to wear khakis and collared shirts, so they stopped at a Wal-Mart to buy clothes.
When they got to Janssen's home, three of the kidnappers went to the door while another waited in the car, according to the indictment. When Frank Janssen cracked the door, the kidnappers forced their way in, hit him with a stun gun several times and pistol-whipped him.
As they drove back to Atlanta, Janssen was forced to lie on the floorboard of the back seat of a rental car. They put handcuffs on him and used the stun gun on him dozens of times.
The indictment doesn't say what happened when Melton discovered they kidnapped Janssen's father instead of the prosecutor, but two days after he was taken, Janssen's wife started receiving the threatening text messages.
Each one seemed to grow more urgent. On April 9, Janssen's wife received a photo of him tied up in a chair along with a message: "Tomorrow we call you again an (sic) if you can not tell me where my things are at tomorrow i will start torchering."
The indictment said that while Janssen was in the Atlanta apartment, he was taped to a chair in a closet, and some of the kidnappers stood watch. Melton sent instructions to one member to assist in the killing and disposal of Janssen if Melton's demands weren't met or if the team lost contact with Melton for three days. The specific demands have not been released by authorities.
Around 8 p.m. April 9, Melton received a text saying, "We got car, spot, and shovel." A few minutes later, Melton called the kidnappers and told them to kill Janssen and gave specific instructions not to leave any DNA behind, court documents said.
By that night, authorities had determined Melton had orchestrated the scheme and was still calling the shots behind bars. When corrections officers tried entering his cell, he smashed the phone.
Authorities pinpointed Janssen's location and stormed the apartment just before midnight April 9. A short while later, three of the nine people charged were caught in a Chevy Tahoe that had two shovels, a pick and a gun inside.
Melton was indicted along with Quantavious Thompson, Jakym Tibbs, Tianna Maynard, Clifton Roberts, Jenna Martin, Jevante Price, Michael Gooden and Patricia Kramer. All face a federal conspiracy charge related to the abduction, and all but Kramer are charged with kidnapping.
Kramer was the only one who wasn't in custody when the indictment was filed Tuesday. She turned herself in to the FBI in Atlanta on Wednesday.
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification, Kelvin Melton is shown. A North Carolina prosecutor was the intended target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers looked up the wrong address on the Internet and abducted the prosecutor's father instead, according to an indictment released Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Authorities have said the kidnapping was retaliation for Colleen Janssen's prosecution of Melton for his involvement in a 2011 shooting. Melton, a high-ranking member of the Bloods gang, orchestrated the abduction from behind bars using a cellphone, the indictment said. (AP Photo/Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification, File)
Workers repair a neighbor's front door, at right, blown off during a raid when FBI agents on Wednesday rescued Frank Arthur Janssen, of Wake Forest, N.C., from an apartment, at left, in a housing complex in Atlanta, Thursday, April 10, 2014. John Strong, FBI special agent in charge in North Carolina, said Janssen's kidnapping was related to his daughter's prosecution of North Carolina prisoner Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for his 2012 conviction for being a habitual felon. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
This undated image provided by the FBI shows the wanted poster for Quantavious Thompson. The FBI is offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of Thompson and another man suspected in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor's father. The FBI said Wednesday, April 16, 2014 they are seeking Thompson, also known by the nickname "Kirkwood Quan," and Jakym Camel Tibbs. The agency says the two should be considered armed and dangerous. Authorities say six other people are accused in the kidnapping last week following a late-night raid by the FBI on an Atlanta apartment. Rescued was Frank Arthur Janssen, a Wake Forest man whose daughter is an assistant district attorney in Wake County. Authorities said the kidnappers made demands regarding Kelvin Melton, a high-ranking Bloods street gang member serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for a 2011 shooting. (AP Photo/FBI)
Workers repair a neighbor's front door, rear, blown off during a raid when FBI agents on Wednesday rescued Frank Arthur Janssen, of Wake Forest, N.C., from an apartment, foreground, in a housing complex in Atlanta, Thursday, April 10, 2014. John Strong, FBI special agent in charge in North Carolina, said Janssen's kidnapping was related to his daughter's prosecution of North Carolina prisoner Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for his 2012 conviction for being a habitual felon. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
In this photo taken from video, FBI agents collect evidence at an apartment complex in Atlanta, Thursday morning, April 10, 2014, where federal agents rescued kidnap victim Frank Arthur Janssen, of Wake Forest. N.C. John Strong, FBI special agent in charge in North Carolina, said the kidnapping of Janssen was related to his daughter's prosecution of North Carolina prisoner Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for his 2012 conviction for being a habitual felon. (AP Photo/Johnny Clark)
John Strong, FBI special agent in charge of North Carolina, addresses members of the media during a press conference at the Wake Forest Town Hall on Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Wake Forest, N.C. Strong said the kidnapping of Frank Arthur Janssen was related to his daughter's prosecution of North Carolina prisoner Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for his 2012 conviction for being a habitual felon. Melton, 49, was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)