Jacksonville truck driver accused of kidnapping 2 children takes plea deal

Man pleads guilty to making false statement to government agency

Marshall Pendergrass
Marshall Pendergrass

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville truck driver arrested in Arizona, accused of kidnapping two children from Texas, has entered a guilty plea in a federal courtroom in Phoenix.

Marshall Pendergrass was originally indicted on two counts of kidnapping.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the two counts of kidnapping, and Pendergrass pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement to a government agency, a Class D felony offense.

According to the agreement, Pendergrass admitted that around March 2019, while he was being investigated by the FBI for kidnapping because he transported two children from Texas to Arizona, he falsely told an FBI agent that he did not offer the children iPhones as an incentive to travel with him.

Punishment for the offense is a maximum fine of $250,000 and/or a maximum of five years in prison, as well as a term of supervised release no longer than three years.  

Sentencing is set for Jan. 29, 2020.

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