Memphis man pleads guilty to murder of city doctor

Convicted killer sentenced to life in prison

July 13, 2011|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

A convicted killer who recently confessed to murdering a Baltimore doctor in Memphis 13 years ago pleaded guilty to the crime Wednesday in Tennessee state court and was sentenced to life in prison, according to the Shelby County District Attorney's Office.

Dale Mardis, a 57-year-old former gun dealer, admitted bludgeoning Dr. Henry Ackerman, whom he knew from gun shows, in June 1998 after they argued over a debt. The confession was revealed during a federal hearing last week in Tennessee, during which Mardis was sentenced to life in prison for a separate, racially motivated murder.

It was a stunning and tragic conclusion to a 13-year-old missing person's case. Ackerman had moved to Baltimore County in the late 1990's after his wife died and was working as a child psychologist in the city school system. But he was dreaming about a job in Alaska and quietly trying to get a job there. In June 1998, he traveled to Memphis, where he used to live, to buy a used truck that he planned to take out West, but he never returned.

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