A South Carolina woman who authorities say is a gang member known as "Lady Jamaica" has admitted lying to federal agents during their investigation of the kidnapping of North Carolina prosecutor's father.
Chason Renee Chase, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbia, South Carolina. She was questioned by FBI agents following the April 5 kidnapping of Frank Janssen of Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Prosecutors say Janssen's kidnapping was directed by 49-year-old Kenneth Melton, a high-ranking Bloods street gang member serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison. The intended target was Janssen's daughter, the state prosecutor who put Melton away in 2012 for his role in the shooting of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.
Chase was interviewed by the FBI while the elder Janssen was missing and lied about communicating with Melton on a cellphone hidden in his jail cell, authorities said. Records from that phone showed numerous calls to Chase's number. Chase also claimed not to recognize a photograph of Melton.
The FBI later located Janssen and rescued him in a dramatic raid on an Atlanta apartment where he had been held. His captors, young gang members who prosecutors say were in frequent cellphone contact with Melton, sent Janssen's wife a photo of him tied up in a chair and a series of text messages threatening to torture and kill him if demands made on Melton's behalf were not met.
Chase faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Nine others still face federal criminal charges in the case.
Melton, Quantavious Thompson, Jakym Tibbs, Tianna Maynard, Clifton Roberts, Jenna Martin, Jevante Price, Michael Gooden and Patricia Kramer all face a federal conspiracy charge related to the abduction. All but Kramer are also charged with kidnapping.
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