Charges: Minneapolis man kidnapped, robbed victim, lit accomplice on fire

A Minneapolis man is accused of kidnapping and robbing a man, then lighting his unconscious accomplice on fire earlier this month.

Desmond Durelle Graham, 31, is charged with kidnapping, first-degree aggravated robbery, third-degree assault and financial transaction fraud.

Minneapolis police were called to the area of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on March 11 after a man was saying he’d been kidnapped and robbed. Officers responded and met with a man who explained that he’d been carjacked, kidnapped and robbed the night before by three people.

The criminal complaint states the victim was in downtown Minneapolis to meet with a coworker when he heard a strange noise coming from his vehicle. He pulled over to check on it and three people forced him into the back of his car and took his keys. The victim said he was taken to an abandoned gas station in the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South.

Once inside the station, the trio demanded money from the victim, hit him with a hammer and screwdriver, and tied him to a piece of furniture.

The victim told police he was afraid he’d die if he didn’t give them money, and he didn’t have any on him, so he provided his online banking information and debit card to the three suspects.

One of the suspects left and withdrew $1,000 from the victim’s account at an ATM shortly before 1:30 a.m., the complaint states. Another $1,000 withdrawal from the victim’s account was made at 2:48 a.m. by another of the suspects, later identified as Graham.

Later that morning, the suspects told the victim to go into a bank and withdraw another $1,000, and that he’d be released if he complied. According to the complaint, the victim complied but wasn’t released. Instead, the suspects drove around Minneapolis using narcotics, until one of Graham’s accomplices became unconscious.

Graham allegedly tried to beat the accomplice awake in the vehicle, but after that didn’t work, went back to the abandoned gas station and lit the accomplice on fire. Police later found the accomplice deceased with burns to his chest at the abandoned gas station.

When the accomplice didn’t wake up, Graham took the victim and left to get back in the vehicle, the complaint states. However, as Graham searched for the keys, the victim ran toward a woman and then into a nearby grocery store. As Graham pursued the victim, grocery store employees called 911 and recognized Graham as a former employee.

Police responded but Graham fled before they arrived. He was found and arrested on March 28. The complaint notes the victim had a fractured nose, cut lip, knuckles and ear, several facial bruises, hemorrhages to his eyes, scalp hematomas, and abrasions to his back, shoulder and knees.

When police talked to Graham, he initially denied everything but later became upset and started admitting to pieces of the incident. When officers left the interview room, the complaint states that Graham ripped the panic button and thermostat off the wall, thinking they were cameras, then pulled out a pill, crushed it and snorted it.

The complaint also notes Graham has prior aggravated robbery convictions from 2010 and 2012, and was out on bail for an aggravated robbery when this incident occurred.

His first court appearance is set for Thursday.