Jack McCullough was sentenced to life in prison Monday morning for the murder of Maria Ridulph. The 73-year-old McCullough was convicted earlier this year in a DeKalb County bench trial. He was arrested in 2011 after authorities re-opened the investigation into the 1957 kidnapping and slaying.
In addition to the life sentence for the murder charge, McCullough was sentenced to 5 years for kidnapping and 7 years for the abduction of the Sycamore girl. Those sentences will be merged into life sentence.
McCullough addressed the court prior to the sentencing announcement. He proclaimed his innocence, saying "I did not kill Maria Ridulph."
McCullough also challenged the judge to review FBI documents from the original investigation. He says they prove that he was not in Sycamore at the time. During his statement, McCullough was ordered by the judge not to look toward the audience, where the victim's family was sitting. The defense also read impact statements from the defendant's wife and step-daughter.
Prosecutor Victor Escarcida delivered arguments for the state at Monday's sentencing. He said McCullough's actions "made Sycamore a scary place." Escarcida also argued that McCullough's military service was a cover for his past. That claim was challenged by McCullough's public defender, who noted that his client received a bronze star while in the service.
The sentencing was attended by victim's brother Charles Ridulph, who testified during the trial. He said he was satisfied with the judge's decision, and that he wouldn't have been satisfied with anything else.
McCullough has 30 days to file an appeal, which he is expected to do.