Wake prosecutor whose father was kidnapped resigns

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Wake County Prosecutor Colleen Janssen (WTVD)

Colleen Janssen, the Wake County prosecutor whose father was kidnapped by a gang leader she prosecuted, has resigned from the Wake County District Attorney's Office.

Last month, The Raleigh News and Observer reported Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman put Janssen on paid leave while looking into her misconduct on two cases unrelated to the kidnapping.

The suspension came about a week after a damaging state Court of Appeals ruling highlighted evidence that Janssen manipulated and withheld in two robbery cases.

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In a statement Friday through her attorney, Janssen said her resignation is an effort to "put an end to the distraction that this inquiry has caused for District Attorney Freeman and her staff."

"I have always tried to conduct myself in a professional and ethical manner, and I am proud of the work I have done for and with our community," she continued.
In a statement, Freeman said.

Today I accepted Colleen Janssen's resignation from our office. On behalf of the District Attorney's office, we appreciate her commitment to serving the people of this county over the last ten years in hundreds of cases, and it is by the arc of this career that her work will be remembered. As prosecutors, we deal daily with tragedy and the unspeakable. No one knows this better than Colleen and her family who have paid a huge price. In our pursuit of justice and our zeal to protect our community, we must hold strong to our objectivity and guarantee to each defendant the benefit of his or her rights. Our office remains committed to honoring the public trust."

Also last month, a federal court jury convicted gang leader Kelvin Melton in the kidnapping of Janssen's father

Melton, 51, orchestrated the abduction of Frank Janssen from his Wake Forest home in April 2014. His daughter sent Melton to prison for life as a dangerous felon for a 2012 attempted gangland murder.

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The FBI says Melton used smuggled cell phones from behind the walls of the Butner Correctional Center to direct gang members during the kidnapping.

Five days later, after agents intercepted a call in which the four kidnappers were told to kill Janssen, an FBI hostage recovery team raided an Atlanta apartment, rescuing him.

Janssen, his daughter, and other family members watched the trial from the gallery.

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