Jack McCullough

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A DeKalb County Judge has dismissed a request for a special prosecutor to take over disposition of the murder case against Jack McCullough.

Judge William Brady ruled Friday that a supposed bias by DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack did not amount to an actual conflict of interest, and therefore no special prosecutor was warranted. 

Schmack, whose handling of the case prompted the request, said afterwards,"I believe that the judge ruled correctly."

Jack McCullough Case: A Timeline

Aug 5, 2016

The Disappearance

December 3, 1957:  The times below reflect the evidence presented in the 2016 court-ordered investigation of the case by DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack.

6:45-7:00 p.m.: Maria Ridulph is last seen by her friend and playmate Kathy Sigman. They were playing with a young man named Johnny and Maria went inside her home five minutes beforehand to get a doll to play with. 

Danielle Guerra / Daily Chronicle

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack is once again asking a judge to dismiss a request for a special prosecutor to take over a high-profile 1957 murder case.

Richard Schmack reviewed the evidence from the lawyer for Maria Ridulph’s family. They say a special prosecutor is necessary, because Schmack showed he was biased in favor of Jack McCullough -- who was found guilty of the decades-old murder of the 7-year-old girl in 2012.

Charles Ridulph of Sycamore has added to his request for a special prosecutor in the 1957 murder case of his sister, Maria.  

The Daily Chronicle says Ridulph claims State’s Attorney Richard Schmack made a 2012 campaign promise to drop charges against Jack McCullough, constituting a conflict of interest.  

Danielle Guerra / Shaw Media

The Daily Chronicle recently published a two-part series called “Road to Dismissal” examining letters and emails that take a closer look at how DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack became convinced that the wrong man was behind bars for the death of Maria Ridulph of Sycamore. Jack McCullough has since been released from prison, but some in the community still question his innocence. Eric Olson is editor of the Daily Chronicle and talks about writing the story.

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