Jack McCullough heard his guilty verdict Friday in a packed courtroom on the third floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse, less than 10 blocks from where he snatched Maria Ridulph on the snowy evening of Dec. 3, 1957.
Known in those days as John Tessier, the 72-year-old convicted kidnapper and murderer sat through five days of a bench trial before Judge James Hallock and heard a parade of prosecution witnesses detail circumstantial evidence that tied him to the seven-year-old girl’s disappearance from the corner of Archie Place and Center Cross Street in Sycamore.
The state has rested its case at the bench trial of Jack McCullough. The 72-year-old is accused in a DeKalb County cold case that dates back to 1957. Prosecutors say he kidnapped and murdered 7-year-old Maria Ridulph.
Two inmates and a forensic anthropologist testified Wednesday in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph in Sycamore nearly 55 years ago.
The inmates told slightly different – but not necessarily contradictory – stories of McCullough’s jailhouse conversations about his case, and the scientist explained how she found evidence of deep cutting wounds on the skelton of the 7-year-old victim.
An expert witness, plus a jail informant, testified today in the Jack McCullough murder trial. McCullough, 72, is accused of killing of Maria Ridulph in 1957. The trial is being heard by a DeKalb County judge.
Playmate recalls the last time she saw Maria Ridulph
Three half sisters of accused murderer Jack Daniels McCullough testified for the prosecution Tuesday in the 55-year-old disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph. Two contradicted their parents’ statement that the accused was home that fateful night, and one recalled their mother’s deathbed declaration about the case.
They were preceded on the stand by Kathy Sigman Chapman, Maria’s playmate on Tuesday evening, December 3, 1957. A member of the prosecution team brought her to the witness stand before the session started. Chapman – with close-cropped grey hair and wearing a dark skirted suit – tested the chair, looked around, chatted briefly with the court stenographer, then smiled and stepped away.
The first day of the bench trial for Jack McCullough ended before 3pm Monday in DeKalb County Court. McCullough is accused in the 1957 kidnapping and murder of a young Sycamore girl, Maria Ridulph. The 7-year-old disappeared while playing near her home. Ridulph's body was found several months later in JoDaviess County. The victim's brother, Charles Ridulph, was the first witness called to the stand.
The bench trial of Jack McCullough begins Monday in DeKalb County Court. The 72-year-old is accused of killing a young Sycamore girl in the late 1950’s. Seven-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared while playing near her home. Her body was found several months later.