Attempted murder suspect under house arrest in Landfall

WILMINGTON -- An attempted murder suspect turned himself in to authorities after five weeks in hiding. But he's no longer in the custody of sheriff's deputies.

Mark Ackerman is actually under electronic house arrest at his parents' home in the gated community of Landfall. Ackerman is charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Investigators say he stabbed Ronald Darden more that two dozen times in June then fled to Florida. According to prosecutors, Ackerman stabbed Darden because he thought he was the devil.

Investigators say drugs may have played a role.

Ackerman's attorney Alex Hall said, "The victim in this case is a major drug dealer and has ruined many people's lives selling crack cocaine."

Ackerman turned himself in to authorities Monday night after five weeks in hiding. His bond set low enough that he was able to get out of jail hours after turning himself in.

In court prosecutor Dru Lewis tried to get Ackerman back in jail, arguing he's a danger and a flight risk.

Lewis said, "Emphasis is being placed on the fact that he turned himself in but that's five weeks after the fact he almost killed this man."

The judge denied Lewis's request. Judge James Fason says because Ackerman turned himself in and appeared in court, he doesn't think he'll run again.

Instead of awaiting trial in jail Ackerman will stay at his parents' house in the gated community Landfall. Ackerman's attorney says it's best for him to be in his parents care of because of a medical condition. Exactly what that medical condition is, is unclear.

Hall said, "He is in need of medical attention. He can't make eye contact with anyone."

The judge presiding over the case did not ask Ackerman if he was on any medication or drugs during Tuesday morning's court appearance. He also did not think a mental evaluation of Ackerman was appropriate at this point in the case.

Ackerman has prior larceny and drug charges. His parents are to constantly supervise him until the case is resolved.

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