COLUMBUS, Ohio — COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio doctor accused of killing a pregnant woman last year by injecting her with heroin after she answered a Craigslist ad pleaded guilty Thursday in her death and that of her nearly full-term unborn child.

Ali Salim entered the pleas in Delaware County Court north of Columbus ahead of his trial scheduled for next week. He faces 37 years in prison at a December sentencing.

Salim, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Deanna Ballman and her unborn daughter, who was to be named Mabel Lilly. Ballman, 23, was nine months pregnant when she died.

Salim also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. He also entered a type of guilty plea to a charge of rape under which he maintains his innocence but acknowledges prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

The tampering with evidence charge alleges Salim erased photos and video of Ballman from his phone, though the images were later recovered by investigators, said Kyle Rohrer, assistant Delaware County Prosecutor.

The guilty pleas avoid any uncertainties from a trial and gave Salim the chance to take responsibility in court, Rohrer said.

Ballman's mother and sister attended the hearing but declined to comment. The family appreciates the work of investigators and will speak at sentencing, their lawyer Greg Helser said Thursday. Salim remains free on house arrest on $1 million bond.

Ballman was last seen alive on July 31, 2012, when she left her home in suburban Columbus, telling her family she was answering a Craigslist ad for a housecleaner. She called her mother a few hours later saying she was feeling dizzy. The call was then lost and her family couldn't reach her again.

Ballman's body was found in the back of her car the next day on a rural road a few miles from Salim's house in an upscale neighborhood.

Salim's attorney, Sam Shamansky, has said Ballman was prostituting herself to feed a drug habit. Messages were left with Shamansky on Thursday.

Authorities say there's no evidence that Ballman was a drug user, but they have said she was responding to a personal ad, not a job ad.

Rohrer declined to discuss the allegations Thursday. He said a full presentation of the state's case would be made at sentencing.

Women who previously answered ads placed by Salim reported being accosted, sexually assaulted or asked to be alone in the house while he painted the human digestive system on their abdomens, according to police records.

Salim is also the target of a $40 million lawsuit filed by Ballman's family earlier this year blaming him for her death. That lawsuit, which also named Salim's employer and Craigslist, has been on hold during the criminal case.

___

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Marcus Crosby

    The Will County, Ill. Sheriff's Department said Crosby killed his wife and himself hours after auditioning for the show 'Family Feud'

  • Na Cola Franklin

    FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Whitehall Township Bureau of Police, Whitehall, Pa. shows Na Cola Franklin. Jurors found Na Cola Franklin, 32, guilty after deliberating about three hours in Lehigh County Court. She could get life in prison when she is sentenced July 16. Her attorney said an appeal is likely. (AP Photo/Whitehall Township Bureau of Police, File)

  • Pvt. Isaac Aguigui

    In this Aug. 30, 2012 file photo, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui walks into the courtroom during a preliminary hearing at Long County Superior Court in Ludowici, Ga. Army prosecutors plan to reveal why a Georgia-based soldier accused of leading an anti-government militia group has also been charged with killing his pregnant wife two years ago. A legal hearing at Fort Stewart for 21-year-old Pvt. Isaac Aguigui is scheduled to begin Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton, File)

  • Gravedigger buries wife

    Police in Virginia allege that Ashley Rodriguez, the wife of Adan Quiroz Rodriguez and mother of four children with him, was shot fatally by her husband. Her body was found in the cemetery her husband worked as a gravedigger in Virginia. He was arrested near Charlotte, N.C.

  • Jesus Maqueira

    Maqueira was arrested in February, 2012 for allegedly murdering his wife. Cops said he <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/12/16936647-florida-man-confesses-to-killing-wife-wont-reveal-where-body-is-police-say?lite" target="_hplink">admitted to killing Raquel Maria Calderin,</a> but wouldn't tell them where her body was, according to NBC Miami.

  • Kelly and Kristi Suckla

    Police in Grapevine, Texas say that Kelly Suckla, 43, killed his estranged wife and then himself during an argument at their daughter's 16th birthday party on Jan. 19, 2013.

  • Shrien and Anni Dewani

    FILE - Undated file handout photo issued by the Bristol Evening Post of Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani. The British man is accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife during the couple's honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010. His wife's body was found with gunshot wounds in a taxi.

  • Thomas Mortimer IV

    Mortimer was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife Laura Stone Mortime, their two children Charlotte and Thomas V, and his mother-in-law Ellen Stone. Police contended that marital discord preceded the grisly killings. HIs sister-in-law discovered the bodies in the family's home north of Boston in 2010.

  • Ice Cream Parlor Murderess

    Goidsargi Estibaliz Carranza Zabala pleaded guilty to killing her ex-husband, then chopping up his body with a chainsaw and hiding the parts inside cement blocks in the cellar of her ice cream parlor. Two years later, she did the same thing to her new boyfriend. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/estibaliz-carranza-murder-husband-ice-cream-parlor_n_2165849.html" target="_hplink">Read the whole story here. </a>

  • Calvin L. Harris

    FILE - In this July 15, 2009 file photo, Calvin Harris walks to Tioga County Court in Owego, N.Y. Harris, a prominent auto dealer imprisoned for the murder of his estranged wife, will have his case heard by New York. Michele Harris' body was never found and she has not been seen since Sept. 11 or 12, 2001. Blood was found in the Harrises kitchen, but investigators never located a murder weapon.

  • Christopher Smeltzer

    FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2010 file photo, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/christopher-smeltzer-sentence_n_1126844.html" target="_hplink">Christopher Smeltzer</a> arrives for arraignment in District Court in Candia, N.H. on a charge he beat his wife to death. In October 2011, Smeltzer pleaded guilty to killing her. He faces 15 to 30 years in prison when sentenced Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 in Rockingham Superior Court in Brentwood, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

  • Fredericka Rosa

    Fredericka Rosa, who suffers from dementia, allegedly murdered her husband and then continued to prepare him meals for 2 days. Her children claim that her husband "drove her insane" and that she had snapped after years of abuse.

  • Arnoldo Jimenez

    FILE - This undated photo provided by the Burbank, Ill., Police Department shows<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/estrella-carrera-death-arnoldo-jimenez_n_1520615.html" target="_hplink"> Arnoldo Jimenez</a>. The FBI announced Thursday, May 24, 2012, a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest Jiminez, who is accused of killing his new bride shortly after their May 11 wedding in Chicago. Authorities say they are concentrating their search for Jimenez in Mexico in the state of Durango. (AP Photo/Burbank Police Department, File)

  • Bobby Nichols

    This photo provided by Smith County Jail shows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120706/us-slain-wife-texas/" target="_hplink">Bobby Nichols</a>. Nichols spoke with The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home in Tyler three days after he posted a $750,000 bond and was released from jail. He is charged with murder in the June 29 death of 71-year-old Rosiland Nichols, to whom he had been married for 26 years. Tyler police arrested Nichols after receiving a 911 call from a man who identified himself as Dr. Bobby Nichols and requested an ambulance and the sheriff, saying he had just shot his wife.(AP Photo/The Tyler Morning Telegraph, Herb Nygren Jr)

  • Bruce Beresford Redman

    FILE - In this May 26, 2010 file photo, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/bruce-beresford-redman-murder_n_1264609.html" target="_hplink">Bruce Beresford-Redman, the former "Survivor" producer</a>, pauses for a photo at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. A spokesman for the ex-"Survivor" producer said Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, that Beresford-Redman is being returned to Cancun, where he is charged with aggravated homicide for his wife Monica's April 2010 death. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

  • James Herring

    This undated photo provided by the Fort Smith, Ark., Police Department shows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/celestia-duffin-pregnant-james-herring-stabbed-murder-arkansas_n_1521620.html" target="_hplink">James Herring</a>, who was arrested on a murder charge Tuesday, May 15, 2012 after his pregnant wife, who had been stabbed in the chest, staggered into the Fort Smith police station and collapsed. Police say officers rushed 32-year-old Celestia Duffin to Fort Smith hospital, where doctors delivered her baby prematurely, but both mother and infant died. (AP Photo/Fort Smith Police Department)

  • Eric Gilford

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/eric-gilford-sentenced-to_n_996303.html" target="_hplink">Eric Gilford</a>, 32, who pleaded guilty to the murders in June 2011, was sentenced to 50 years for the first-degree murder of his wife Kristine Gilford, and another 50 years for intentional homicide of their unborn son, to be served consecutively, the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> reports. Kristine was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of her death