2 Minneapolis men plead guilty in federal court to carjacking, kidnapping

Two Minneapolis men have pleaded guilty for their roles in an armed carjacking and kidnapping earlier this year, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The news release says that in U.S. District Court on Monday, 18-year-old Jamal Timothy Funchess and 21-year-old T’Shawn Teon Palton each pleaded guilty to carjacking, kidnapping and holding a victim at gunpoint for several hours.

Their sentencing dates will be set at a later date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

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Court documents allege that on Feb. 14, Palton and a juvenile approached a man who’d made arrangements to buy a cellphone over Facebook Marketplace. When the victim went to the meet-up spot in Columbia Heights, the two ordered him into the back seat of his vehicle, then held him at gunpoint for hours.

The documents say that they then picked up Funchess, and the three of them then took turns holding the victim at gunpoint, demanding he give them his cellphone, wallet, credit cards and banking information, then driving around the Twin Cities to withdraw money using the victim’s cards.

Prosecutors say the men then openly talked about murdering the victim before dumping him on a road in St. Paul and driving away in his car.

The victim was able to use an employee’s cellphone at a nearby gas station to call 911, and police then tracked down Palton, Funchess and the juvenile by tracking the victim’s phone.