RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A gang leader behind the kidnapping of a Wake County prosecutor’s father in 2014 was sentenced Thursday to life in prison.
Kelvin Melton, 51, was charged with master-minding the April 5, 2014 kidnapping of Frank Janssen of Wake Forest.
Frank Janssen’s daughter, Colleen Janssen, was an assistant district attorney in Wake County who helped convict Melton of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill. Melton was already serving a life sentence at the time of the kidnapping.
Authorities said Melton used a cell phone that had been smuggled into Polk Correction center in Butner to help guide the operation. Melton used the phone to give instructions on how to kill
Frank Janssen, dispose of his body and sanitize the crime scene, federal officials said.
“So many custodial officers start off doing a small favor for an inmate then told by the end, ‘I’ve got you. You have to follow my orders because if I report what you do, you’re gonna lose your job, lose your livelihood,'” said Gerald Beaver, Melton’s lawyer.
Frank Janssen was rescued in Atlanta on April 9, 2014.
Authorities said Melton’s kidnapping plot was aimed at Colleen Janssen but the kidnappers went to the wrong address and grabbed Frank Janssen.
On Thursday, Melton was sentenced to life in federal prison plus seven years after being found guilty June 21 on charges related to the kidnapping.
“The federal prosecution of Kelvin Melton is now complete, and justice has been served. The credit for this successful prosecution goes to the hard-working prosecutors in our office, the dedicated agents of the FBI, and scores of officers from state and local agencies who worked together to rescue the victim and solve the case,” said U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce.
Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever recommended Melton serve his North Carolina and federal sentences in the most secure part of ADX Super Max Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.