SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield man who killed a homeless man in south Springfield in December of 2020 has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Online court records show Mark Akers, 47, was sentenced Friday (10/21/22) to 23 years on a charge of second-degree murder and seven years for tampering with a motor vehicle in connection with the death of Johnny A. Pendergrast, 48, formerly of Kansas City. The terms are to be served concurrently.

He pleaded guilty to the charges under a plea agreement with Greene County prosecutors.

Pendergrast was found dead behind a vacant business at 1809 E. Seminole on Dec. 1, 2020.

A construction worker called 911 after he arrived to work on the property, a vacant storefront in a strip center just east of Glenstone. The building has since been demolished and replaced by a convenience store.

According to a probable cause statement in the case, Pendergrast was a homeless person who lived out of his car.

Surveillance video from the area during the night before the body was found showed that he had walked behind the building and was followed by another man. The second man later dragged a body into the back door of the building and wired the door closed.

Police said Pendergrast’s body bore injuries consistent with being struck by a pipe that was found near the body. An autopsy confirmed those observations. His car and its contents, which relatives told investigators were his only possessions, were missing, according to the probable cause statement.

Akers was found sitting in the car on East Sunshine on the morning of Dec. 2, 2020, and claimed Pendergrast has loaned the auto to him. After questioning Akers and an associate of his, Akers was arrested and charged