Maria Ridulph case
9:59 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Two new faces join McCullough case

One of the nation’s oldest criminal cases will have two new faces when the trial begins Sept. 20 in DeKalb County Circuit Court.

Kane County Associate Judge James Hallock will preside over the bench trial and decide the fate of Jack D. McCullough, who waived a jury trial last week on charges of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Maria Ridulph. The Sycamore girl was abducted from her neighborhood Dec. 3, 1957.

The other new figure in the case is Geneva attorney Tom McCulloch, who was named interim public defender replacing Regina Harris, who resigned in June after five years to start a private practice.

DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert announced Friday she would remove herself from the case to avoid potential perception of an unfair decision because of her decision finding McCullough not guilty in a different case in April.

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell called that ruling a “miscarriage of justice.” He did not comment on Stuckert stepping down, but acknowledged there was a motion to change the judge in the Ridulph case.

McCullough, formerly known as John Tessier, was arrested in July 2011 in Seattle. He is being held in the DeKalb County Jail on $3 million bond.

McCulloch was named interim public defender until January, when a permanent selection will be made.

McCulloch also will defend William “Billy” Curl, who is charged with killing Northern Illinois University student Antinette “Toni” Keller in 2010.

McCulloch has been in private practice since 1976. He also has been chief public defender, assistant public defender and interim public defender for Kane County.

His first official day will be Wednesday.