SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A 45-year-old Springfield man is charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with a motor vehicle in connection with the death of a homeless person found dead in a vacant Springfield business on Tuesday.
Mark Akers is charged in the death of Johnny A. Pendergrast, 48, of Kansas City.
Pendergrast was found dead at 1809 E. Seminole Tuesday morning (12/1/20) after police responded to a 911 call from a construction worker who had arrived to work on the property, a vacant storefront in a strip center just east of Glenstone.
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, was missing, according to the probable cause statement.
Akers was found sitting in the car on East Sunshine on Wednesday morning and claimed Pendergrast has loaned the auto to him. After questioning Akers and an associate of his, Akers was arrested on Wednesday.
Online records show he is being held with bond at the Greene County Jail.
Police said Pendergrast’s death was the 25th violent death in Springfield in 2020. Seventeen of those, including this case, have been determined to be Murder under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) rules, one was classified as Negligent Manslaughter, and two others were ruled justified after review by the Greene County Prosecutor. Five other cases remain under investigation to determine the appropriate classification.