Jack McCullough

Susan Stephens

Jack McCullough will not receive a certificate of innocence today in the case of the 1957 death of a Sycamore girl.

The 76-year-old Seattle-area resident was released on his own recognizance from the Pontiac Correctional Center on April 15 when his conviction in the murder of Maria Ridulph was vacated.

Danielle Guerra / Daily Chronicle/shawmedia.com

The man whose cold-case conviction for a 1957 murder was overturned earlier this year wants a judge to take the next step to clear his name.

Jack McCullough case: A Timeline

Attorneys with The Exoneration Project, a legal clinic based at the University of Chicago, filed papers asking for a Certificate of Innocence for Jack McCullough. 

Joiner History Room


An Illinois prison inmate says prosecutors broke their promises after he testified in the trial involving the death of Maria Ridulph.

The Sycamore girl was kidnapped in 1957, and her body was found several months later. Jack McCullough was arrested for the death decades later, and his trial was held in DeKalb County in 2012. Earlier this year, a judge vacated McCullough's conviction and freed him from prison.

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.