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Truck driver accused of kidnapping 2 children gets trial delay

Man from Jacksonville indicted on 2 counts of kidnapping

Marshall Pendergrass
Marshall Pendergrass

A federal judge granted a request Tuesday for a trial delay in the case against a truck driver from Jacksonville accused of kidnapping two children from Texas.

Marshall Pendergrass, 47, was indicted in March by a federal grand jury on two counts of kidnapping. 

His defense team asked for a delay in the start of the trial, which had been set for May 7, saying they have not yet received evidence in the case.

The prosecution didn't object, and the judge granted the motion, canceling an April 22 status conference and setting a new trial date for July 2.

At his arraignment in Flagstaff, Arizona, Pendergrass pleaded not guilty to all counts and waived formal reading of the indictment, according to the federal court docket. The court hearing lasted two minutes.

Pendergrass was taken into custody March 16 in northern Arizona after authorities said they found two children who used to live in Jacksonville and who were abducted from Texas held captive in the cab of his semi truck. 

According to a federal complaint obtained by News4Jax, the 12-year-old boy and his 14-year-old sister told police that they were kidnapped by the Jacksonville truck driver and bound with zip ties and duct tape during their ordeal.

Pendergrass told investigators he learned the children "ran away" from home and he said he planned to take them back home, the complaint stated.