RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A federal jury found an inmate guilty on all counts Tuesday in a high-profile kidnapping case.
Kelvin Melton, 51, was charged with master-minding a case that involved the father of a Wake County assistant district attorney.
He is facing a life sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Frank Janssen of Wake Forest was kidnapped on April 5, 2014. Janssen’s daughter is an assistant district attorney in Wake County. She helped convict Melton of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill.
Authorities said Melton used a cell phone that had been smuggled into Polk Correction center in Butner to help guide the operation.
Janssen was rescued in Atlanta on April 9, 2014.
The federal government said, and the jury agreed, that Melton used an illegally obtained cellphone in Polk Correctional Institute in Butner to transmit instructions to co-conspirators.
Defense attorney Gerald Beaver said those testified about Melton were motivated by something other than the truth. He said those who cooperated against Melton were motivated to get lighter sentences.
“It automatically raises the question of whether they are bought and paid for,” Beaver said.
Defense attorney Laura Beaver said, “There’s a quote that says that, ‘People in this system are taught not only to sing but to compose.’ And I think we see a lot of that.”
The government said Melton gave instructions on how to kill Janssen, dispose of his body and sanitize the scene.
“This crime was monstrously cruel to the victim and his family, including a dedicated public servant who was being targeted for her public service,” said acting U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce. “