News Local/State

Judge To Appoint Counsel For DeKalb County Cold Case


Jack McCullough pleaded with a judge at a hearing in DeKalb County Tuesday to consider his latest bid for freedom. The 76-year-old was convicted at a bench trial in 2012 for the kidnapping and killing of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph of Sycamore.  Last week, the DeKalb County State's Attorney said a six-month review turned up serious missteps during the investigation.

It's was one of the nation's oldest cold cases. On Tuesday, McCullough pleaded with DeKalb County Judge William Brady to consider his latest bid for freedom.

"Your honor, I've been locked up now for almost five years," he said. "I'm innocent, and can prove I'm innocent. There has to be an end to this somewhere."

Judge Brady says he will appoint an attorney for McCullough, with another court hearing scheduled for April 15th.

The hearing took place near where Maria Ridulph was kidnapped in 1957 in Sycamore. She was stabbed and choked to death in a case that made national headlines.

McCullough asked Judge Brady how long his request could take.

"It's a process," Brady said. "It is not a black and white issue that is easily resolved without further review."

Brady also offered no comment on the blockbuster statement issued last Friday by current DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack, following a six-month review of evidence in the case.  

"I had expected to find some reliable evidence that the right man had been convicted," Schmack wrote. "No such evidence could be discovered."

Last week, Schmack released his 38-page analysis of the evidence in the case.

The victim's brother, Charles Ridulph, has asked the judge to appoint a special prosecutor to ensure McCullough stay behind bars.

The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports that Ridulph filed his motion Monday in DeKalb County Court.