Man, 29, charged in alleged plot to kidnap Dauphin Co. judge

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Anthony Davis (2005)

A Harrisburg man serving time in state prison was charged Thursday in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap a Dauphin County judge and his wife, court document state.

Anthony M. Davis, 29, is charged with criminal solicitation to facilitate a felony kidnapping.

An investigation revealed that Davis solicited his former cell mate at the SCI-Benner in Bellefonte in a kidnapping plot that targeted Magisterial District Judge George Zozos and his wife.

According to court documents, Davis wrote letters to Kenneth Lee Pailen who was paroled on June 12, 2014.

Pailen went to authorities after being paroled and explained that he and Davis had been lovers and had a conversation about kidnapping Zozos and his wife.

A letter dated July 8 to Pailen included explicit instructions for him to carry out on behalf of Davis.  The letter detailed work hours for Zozos and his wife, and items needed for kidnapping including disguises, gloves, taser guns, duct tape, two sets of handcuffs, transportation, a safe house and a pre-paid cell phone.

Another letter addressed to Pailen dated July 14–contained demands that were to be sent to the victim’s family stating, “They are being held at gunpoint at this very moment. This is their one and only call so listen up.” The letter went on by detailing instructions identifying Davis SID #hm6876 at SCI-Benner as the inmate being released via constable from Zozo’s office and instructions on how to get him released. The paragraph ends with, “no cops, no games, no dead body.” The letter concludes with instructions to Pailen to be at the Arby’s parking lot in disguise with his car running and money to last them a few days.

Davis also indicated in the letter that he had enlisted his former cell mate at SCI Rockview, identified as Matt Zeno, to take part in the kidnappings.

On July 29—detectives confronted Davis at SCI-Benner about the alleged plot. Davis told authorities he had never had romantic relationship with Pailen. He did admit to having another inmate write the letter for him, and refused to provide that person’s name. He explained that he knew what was in the letters and that “no crime was even committed,” court documents state.

Davis said he would take the fall for everything, and if he were to be charged that would be fine. Davis denied knowing Zeno–but his former cellmate told authorities that Davis had spoken to him on the phone and through letters about the kidnappings for ransom, according to court documents.

Recorded phone conversations between the two men revealed that Davis asked Zeno to get with Pailen and “get this done for me,” documents state. Zeno provided police with a letter dated June 23 which outlined Davis’ plan to kidnap Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel and acting Warden of SCI Benner Tammy Fergusin.

Davis’ letter further stated that he wanted Zeno to kidnap the owner of Zeke’s Bail Bonds in Lancaster.

Davis is already serving 20 to 40 year sentence in prison for the kidnapping of a Mount Joy family in 2005.

He was also charged in the armed robbery of a motel in Carlisle in 2005.