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Updated: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 04:16:24 EST


NC inmate charged in kidnapping of DA's father

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina inmate described as a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang faces a federal kidnapping charge after authorities say he used a smuggled mobile phone to help orchestrate the abduction of a prosecutor's father.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence for ordering the shooting of a man in 2011.

Melton is accused in the Saturday kidnapping of Frank Arthur Janssen of Wake Forest. Janssen was rescued Wednesday by the FBI at an Atlanta apartment. Janssen's daughter prosecuted Melton in 2012.

The case highlights the problem of inmates getting access to smartphones that can allow them to make calls, exchange email, browse the Internet and maintain Facebook profiles.

Five other people were arrested and charged in Janssen's kidnapping.


Palin to be featured in Ga. Senate ad for Handel

ATLANTA (AP) — The first TV ad by Senate candidate Karen Handel features Sarah Palin describing Handel as a conservative "who has walked the walk" and follows through with promises.

The ad will begin airing statewide Monday.

Handel is one of seven Republicans competing in Georgia's May 20 primary. Her campaign also said Friday it would report about $300,000 in contributions over three months, with about $385,000 in cash heading into April.

Handel, a former secretary of state, has trailed in fundraising. Republican Rep. Jack Kingston has about $2.1 million in cash.

Kingston's campaign said Friday that conservative talk show host Sean Hannity had endorsed Kingston as a "bright, solid, incredible conservative."

Others in the GOP race include Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue.


Ga teacher: Marijuana in home was medicine

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — An Athens middle school teacher facing drug charges says he was growing marijuana in his home for medicinal purposes.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Joseph Weston LePage posted an online note to co-workers addressing his arrest earlier this week.

LePage says police seized two flowering marijuana plants that he was growing for his own personal medicine. He says he was dependent on pharmaceuticals for back pain but decided to grow and consume organic pain medicine as a substitute.

The assistant police chief for Athens and Clarke County, Fred Stephens, says officers found more than two marijuana plants. He says those other items included a hallucinogenic mushroom.

LePage is charged offenses included marijuana distribution, but he says he has never dealt drugs.

The teacher is now on administrative leave.


Ala woman reunites Ga soldier with lost journal

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — An Alabama woman has helped a Fort Benning soldier reclaim a writing journal he lost after being deployed to Afghanistan in 2003.

Kerri Clemons of Arab, Ala., met Sgt. First Class Bryan Bailey at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus on Friday.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports Bailey was freshly deployed to Afghanistan 11 years ago when he decided to keep a journal.

Bailey later lost track of the book. But Clemons found it in a second-hand store in 2004 and began trying to locate Bryan.

Clemons recently contacted a friend at WAFF-TV in Huntsville and the station did a story. Several people contacted Bryan after seeing the piece, and he contacted Clemons.

Bryan thinks the journal got mixed up with other books that were shipped back after the deployment.

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