Two Minneapolis men sentenced for armed carjacking on Valentine's Day

Two men who pleaded guilty in an armed carjacking case were sentenced to prison Friday.

T’Shawn Teon Palton, 21, received nine years in prison, followed by three years of probation. Jamal Timothy Funchess received eight years in prison, followed by three years of probation., according to a U.S. Attorney's Office press release. 

According to court documents, on the evening of Feb. 14, 2023, Palton, Funchess, and a then-juvenile posted an advertisement on Facebook Marketplace to sell an iPhone. The victim responded to the advertisement and made arrangements to buy the phone. The victim and the supposed seller agreed to meet at a location in Columbia Heights. When the victim arrived at the location and was still in the car, Palton and the juvenile approached. The juvenile had a gun and hit the victim in the face with it. The men ordered the victim to the backseat of the car, then got into the car. They drove for a short distance and picked up Funchess. 

For several hours, the three men drove the victim’s car around the Twin Cities, holding the victim at gunpoint in the backseat. Each of the three men at some point held the firearm and pointed it at the victim. During this time, they demanded that the victim surrender his cell phone, wallet, credit cards and banking information, a press release said. 

The men drove to several gas stations in an attempt to withdraw money. Toward the end of the ordeal, they discussed what to do with the victim and openly talked about killing him. They ended up dropping the victim on a road in St. Paul and drove away in the victim’s car. 

The victim ran to a gas station and borrowed an employee’s cell phone to call 911. Officers were able to use the location of the victim’s stolen cell phone to find the three perpetrators, along with the victim’s stolen car and possessions, the release said.