WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Nine people were indicted by a U.S. grand jury on Tuesday in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father earlier this month.
Kelvin Melton, 49, a member of the Bloods gang, and seven others charged in the case have been arrested. A ninth person named in the indictment was not yet in custody on Tuesday afternoon, a U.S. Attorney’s spokesman said.
Frank Janssen was abducted from his home on April 5 and held in an Atlanta apartment for four days. His daughter, who has been identified by local media as Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, prosecuted Melton in 2012 and he was sentenced to life in prison.
The indictment, issued by a federal grand jury in Wilmington, North Carolina, provided new details about the case.
According to the indictment, Melton had first plotted in March to kidnap someone in Louisiana with ties to the defense attorney who represented him in his 2012 case. He arranged from prison for each person recruited as part of the kidnapping team to receive about $10,000.
That plan was scrapped and Melton instructed his co-conspirators to abduct Janssen’s prosecutor daughter, the indictment said.
The kidnappers mistakenly ended up at her father’s home. Frank Janssen was attacked with a pistol and stun gun and his hands were tied, the indictment said. He was hidden under a blanket on the back floorboard of a rented car on the trip to Atlanta, it said.
Melton told the kidnappers to send messages to Janssen’s wife saying her husband and others would be hurt if undisclosed demands were not met. He also gave instructions on how to kill and dispose of the hostage, the indictment said.
On April 9, hours before Janssen was rescued, Melton received a text message stating, “We got car, spot, and shovel.” The next day, three suspects were caught in a car with two shovels, a pick and a gun, according to the indictment.
One of the men accused of taking Janssen from his home, Jakym Tibbs, was arrested on Monday in Pennsylvania.
The kidnapping charges carry a maximum life sentence and a $250,000 fine. The defendants are due to be tried in North Carolina.
Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston