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Man Charged In 1977 Death Of Toddler

Last updated on Friday, April 26, 2013

(INDIANAPOLIS) - An Indianapolis man has been arrested and charged in a 1977 cold case.

Michael V. Ackerman faces charges in the 1977 beating death of 18-month-old William T. (Billy) Wood. The Marion County prosecutor's office made the announcement Thursday.

Ackerman faces a charge of second degree murder.

"No crime victim should ever be forgotten, particularly a young child such as Billy Wood," Prosecutor Terry Curry said. "Even though it is now 36 years after his death, it is our intent that justice will be served on his behalf. We commend the IMPD Cold Case Unit for their work on this case."

Police allege Ackerman was babysitting Wood and his sister in January 1977 while the children's mother was at work. Ackerman was the mother's boyfriend at the time. An autopsy found blunt impact injuries to Billy Wood's head and abdomen, several of which were fatal. Independent forensic pathologists recently confirmed those findings and determined the manner of death was homicide.

The victim's sister requested that police look into the case again, which led to the arrest and charges.

According to the statute in effect at the time of this offense, a person who purposely and maliciously, and without premeditation, killed another human being committed Second Degree Murder. That offense carries a term of imprisonment of 15-25 years or life.

It's the third cold case homicide where charges have been filed since 2011. In February 2011, Paul Reese, Sr., was charged in the 1987 murder of Dawn Stuard. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 2012. In July 2012, Rodney Denk was charged in the 1989 murder of Amy Weidner. His case remains pending and is set for jury trial later this year.

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