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Feds: Kidnappers went to wrong house

Posted April 22
Updated April 23

— A team of kidnappers accused of abducting a Wake Forest man from his home earlier this month meant to take his daughter but went to the wrong house, authorities allege in court documents.

Federal indictments handed down Tuesday in the kidnapping of Frank Janssen reveal that the intended target was his daughter, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen. She won a conviction two years ago against the alleged ringleader, Kelvin Melton, which put him in prison for life.

Instead, authorities said, the group assembled from behind bars by Melton obtained the wrong address from an Internet search and wound up in Wake Forest, where they used a stun gun to subdue Frank Janssen after he answered a knock on his door.

The 63-year-old was taken April 5 and rescued five days later during an FBI raid of a southeast Atlanta apartment. His rescue came just hours after the conspirators sent a text to Melton, saying “we got car, spot, and shovel,” according to court documents.

Minutes after getting the text, authorities say, Melton made a cellphone call giving specific instructions on how Janssen was to be killed and his body disposed.

According to the indictment, Melton, 49, also orchestrated another plot in March to have several of the suspects kidnap “someone with ties” to his defense attorney. The group drove from Georgia to Louisiana to carry out the plan but aborted it for unknown reasons, prosecutors say.

Along with Melton, eight others were indicted on various charges, including conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The suspects are: Quantavious Thompson, 18 or 19; Jakym Camel Tibbs, 21; Tianna Daney Maynard, 30; Jenna Martin, 21; Clifton James Roberts, 29; Patricia Ann Kramer, 28; Jevante Price, 20; and Michael Martrell Gooden, 21.

Martin, Maynard, Roberts, Price and Gooden were arrested shortly after Janssen was freed. Thompson was captured in Atlanta on Thursday, and Tibbs was captured in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Kramer was not previously identified as a suspect until she was named in the indictments. Her relationship to Melton is unclear.

The charge of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Tuesday's indictments, made by a federal grand jury in Wilmington, offer more details about the elaborate plot and insight into Melton's role as the accused mastermind.

Melton, who is serving his life sentence at Polk Correctional Institute in Butner, allegedly arranged to pay $10,000 to four of the suspects named in the failed March kidnapping plot. He also agreed to pay Kramer, who prosecutors say assembled the team, an extra $1,000 to cover her travel expenses.

In the Frank Janssen kidnapping, Melton allegedly called the suspects and outlined the specific role for each one, telling them to wear khakis and collared shirts to carry out the plan.

Tibbs and Thompson are accused of using the stun gun on Janssen and pistol whipping him into submission. His hands were zip-tied and he was put into the back of a Nissan Versa, where he was forced to lay on the floor.

"During the entire trip back to Georgia, Thompson and Tibbs remained in the back seat with their feet on the victim's body," prosecutors said in the indictment.

They said Melton dictated what the suspects should say in text messages to Janssen's wife. The texts included a photo of Janssen tied up and seated in a chair and statements that he would be sent back to the family in six boxes and that other family members would be kidnapped and tortured if she contacted police.

Authorities zeroed in on Janssen's location about four hours after Melton allegedly called the kidnappers and told them how to kill the victim.

The next morning, officers stopped Maynard, Roberts and Martin in a blue truck containing two shovels, a pick and a firearm.

Colleen Janssen won a conviction against Melton in October 2012 in a case involving a plan to kill a Raleigh man who was dating Melton's ex-girlfriend.

The target in that plot was shot in the head and hand but survived.

A Wake County jury acquitted Melton of attempted murder and criminal conspiracy, but he was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and received a life sentence as a violent habitual felon.

Melton's criminal record dates to 1979 and includes convictions in New York for robbery and manslaughter. Court records show he is a high-ranking member of the notorious Bloods street gang.

30 Comments

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  • SFSOLDIER Apr 23, 12:44 p.m.

    Typical bone-headed criminals...throw all of them in jail for the rest of their lousy lives...

  • gotnoid Apr 23, 12:24 p.m.

    Am I missing something here? Are some of us trying to justify the action of these people because of bigotry and laws that existed before any of us were born?

  • baldchip Apr 23, 12:07 p.m.

    And this character got life??? Something is really wrong here!! Even though he is in jail, he needs to be moved to solitary until he can be re-tried and executed!!

  • 3TeensGrowinUp2Fast Apr 23, 11:47 a.m.

    It's absurd that someone in prison even HAS a cell phone. And seriously, you're going to kidnap someone because you broke the law and ended up in prison? I just do not get this Fd up world we live in. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. And the brilliant ones behind the kidnapping couldn't even get the right house? Oh come on...!

  • NCWASJIMCROWNSLAVERYPUREEVIL Apr 23, 11:26 a.m.

    This law put fugitive slaves at risk for recapture all their lives, but some slave-owners did not think it was strong enough. It also classified children born to fugitive slave mothers as slaves and the property of the mother's master, for all their lives.

    Oney Judge (sometimes spelled Ona) was one of Martha Washington's slaves and chambermaids; she served the Washingtons in Virginia and at the President's House in Philadelphia when Washington was President; the city was the temporary capital from 1790 to 1800. She escaped on May 21, 1796.[5] George Washington made two attempts to seize her shortly afterwards, even enlisting the help of the Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr in a letter written on September 1, 1796.[6] Later his nephew visited her and asked that she return. Neither attempt was successful. Washington acted discreetly to avoid controversy in Philadelphia,
    Having settled in New Hampshire, married and had a child legally they belonged to Washington

  • carolinarox Apr 23, 11:21 a.m.

    "I don't think they should indiscriminately block cell phone calls even in prison"

    Why ? They are... View More

    — Posted by trafalgerfountain

    Yes, but others are there quite legally and in the event of an emergency, their cell phones should not be blocked.

  • NCWASJIMCROWNSLAVERYPUREEVIL Apr 23, 11:18 a.m.

    Real evil
    The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was an Act of the United States Congress to give effect to the Fugitive Slave Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3 Note: Superseded by the Thirteenth Amendment)[1] guaranteed the right of a slaveholder to recover an escaped slave. The Act's title was "An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters" and created the legal mechanism by which that could be accomplished.

    The Act was passed by the House of Representatives on February 4, 1793 by a vote of 48–7 with 14 abstaining.[2] The "Annals of Congress" state that the law was approved on February 12, 1793.[3]

    The Act was strengthened at the insistence of the slave states of the South by the Compromise of 1850, which required even the governments and residents of free states to enforce the capture and return of fugitive slaves. The enforcement of the Act outraged Northern public opinion. (See Fugitive Slave Act of

  • NCWASJIMCROWNSLAVERYPUREEVIL Apr 23, 11:14 a.m.

    IT has never been legal for blacks to kidnap whites in north carolina or thesouth. The law only allowed whites to enslave , rape, sell and track down blacks.. Whites are not hypocrites they wrote the darn laws...LOL.............

    Freedom is only for them per Roger Taney e was the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most remembered for delivering the majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), that ruled, among other things, that African-Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and, whether free or slave, could not be considered citizens of the United States.

  • krimson Apr 23, 11:05 a.m.

    Get ole sparky ready. Fry them all.

  • Return of... Apr 23, 11:00 a.m.

    I notice no one from "The Community" wants to weigh in on this

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