Hearing On McCullough Conviction To Be Held Today

Mar 28, 2016

The case of Jack McCullough will be back in DeKalb County Courthouse Today.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 for the 1957 kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Sycamore resident Maria Ridulph.

DeKalb County Courthouse
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

  

At the time, this was the oldest cold case to be solved in US history. But DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack said in a released statement newly-permissible evidence suggests that McCullough may be innocent.

Specifically, Schmack says telephone records from Illinois Bell show that McCullough made a collect call from Rockford, which is 40 miles away, at the time of the kidnapping. 

“The question was not did he make a phone call from somewhere in Rockford – which was known – but where exactly was that phone number was located. Where in Rockford,” Schmack said.

Schmack says the evidence he reviewed for six months was credible and that phone call’s existence was never disputed, but that evidence was initially prohibited at trial. 

The newly-admitted evidence contradicts past police reports and testimony, including a “deathbed confession” by McCullough’s mother.    

The main purpose of today's hearing is to appoint a lawyer to McCullough. That lawyer would be selected to help McCullough revise his original filed plea.

The hearing, which will take place at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 220, may result in the withdrawal of McCullough’s conviction.  If that occurs, he is likely to be released from prison.