UK & World News

  • 11 April 2014, 14:29

Inmate 'Orchestrated Kidnapping From Cell'

A prison inmate used a smuggled mobile phone to orchestrate the kidnapping of the father of a prosecutor who put him away for life, authorities said.

The hostage, Frank Arthur Janssen, was held for five days until he was rescued on Wednesday by an FBI elite squad in an Atlanta apartment. Five people were arrested.

Authorities believe that Mr Janssen's kidnapping was related to his daughter's prosecution of Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for ordering the shooting of a man in 2011.

Authorities say Melton exchanged at least 123 calls and text messages with the alleged kidnappers in the past week.

The phone had been smuggled inside his cell at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina.

Melton is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City.

In 2012, he was convicted of ordering a subordinate member of his gang to kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. The intended victim survived the attack.

The admitted hit man, Jamil Herring Gressett, testified during the trial that he had followed Melton's orders for fear he or his loved ones would be killed if he did not.

At the trial, Melton protested that the prosecutor, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, had not followed proper legal procedure.

FBI Special Agent John Strong said Mr Janssen was targeted as "part of an elaborate kidnapping plot".

During the abduction, the kidnappers took a picture of Mr Janssen tied up in a chair and sent it to his wife, threatening to torture and dismember him if she went to police, the FBI said in court documents.

Authorities are now investigating how the phone Melton used was smuggled inside his cell.

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