Inmate masterminded revenge kidnapping from behind bars, FBI says

Posted Apr 23, 2014 by Kelly Fetty
A gang member serving life without parole in a maximum-security prison allegedly used a contraband cell phone to organize a kidnapping plot that spanned two states, officials say.
Andrew Bardwell
Prosecutors and FBI investigators say 49-year-old Kelvin Melton, a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang, used the mobile phone to give orders to a 8-person crew ranging in age from 18- to 29-years-old, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
According to court documents, on April 5 the group drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Wake Forest, North Carolina where they tased and pistol-whipped 63-year-old Frank Arthur Janssen and forced him into a rented Nissan Versa. They drove Janssen back to Atlanta and held him captive in an apartment.
Janssen's daughter, Colleen Janssen, is an assistant district attorney in Wake County, North Carolina. In 2012 Colleen Janssen prosecuted Melton for his role in a Raleigh shooting. Melton was given a life sentence without parole.
Melton was incarcerated in the Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, NC when he allegedly organized the kidnapping.
Authorities say Melton was seeking revenge for his conviction.
Melton had ordered the group to "kidnap the ADA," Colleen Janssen, but when the kidnappers searched Ms. Janssen's address on the internet, they found Arthur Janssen's address by mistake, Yahoo News reports.
"This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated," said Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. attorney in Raleigh.
Threatening Text Messages Lead to Arrests
At 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 5 Frank Janssen returned home from a morning bike ride. His wife was grocery shopping.
When Mrs. Janssen returned, her husband was gone and blood was spattered outside the house.
On Monday, April 7 at 1:51 a.m., Mrs. Janssen began receiving text messages. The messages claimed Janssen was in the trunk of a car on its way to California. The sender threatened to harm the rest of the family if she contacted the police:
"...we will send [Janssen] back to you in 6 boxes and every chance we get we will take someone in your family to Italy and torture them and kill them...we will do drive by and gun down everybody...and throw a grenade in your window..."
The messages also made "specific demands for the benefit of Kelvin Melton," according to the official complaint.
On Wednesday, April 9 at 12:19 a.m., Mrs. Janssen received a text message including a photo of Frank Janssen tied to a chair. The sender claimed a second person had been kidnapped and threatened to begin torturing Janssen the next day if their demands were not met:
"...if we find out the police seen this we kill both people now and go for you family..."
FBI investigators traced the text messages and other cell phone calls, trying to locate Janssen.
At 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, the FBI intercepted a cell phone call allegedly placed from Melton's prison cell to an Atlanta area code. Investigators believe the caller was arranging Janssen's murder:
"Get a bag, put it over his head, and stuff something in his mouth."
"However you feel like doing it, just do it."
"Make sure you clean the area up. Don't leave any DNA behind."
At the end of that call authorities tried to enter Melton's cell and take the phone. Melton smashed the phone before authorities could retrieve it.
At 11:55 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9 the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team raided an apartment at the Forest Cove complex in Atlanta and rescued Janssen.
He was found in a closet, taped to a chair.
Authorities were led to the apartment by Jevante "Flame" Price, a suspect in the investigation. Shortly after Janssen's rescue, Tiana Maynard and Jenna Paul Martin were also arrested.
By April 23, nine suspects had been indicted in connection with the kidnapping, according to
Jenna Paul Martin, 21
Tiana Maynard, 20
Jevante Price, 20
Michael Montreal Gooden, 21
Clifton James Roberts, 29
Quantavius Thompson,18
Jakym Camel Tibbs, 21
Patricia Kramer, 28
Kelvin Melton, 49
The suspects face a maximum sentence of life without parole if convicted.
They will be tried in North Carolina.