A Seattle man charged in the 1957 murder of a Sycamore girl will stand trial in September.
At a Thursday hearing, DeKalb County Judge Robbin Stuckert set Sept. 10 as the start date for the trial of Jack McCullough.
McCullough, 72, was charged last year with the abduction and murder of Maria Ridulph, a 7-year-old Sycamore girl who disappeared in December 1957.
Authorities allege that McCullough, then a 17-year-old Sycamore resident known as John Tessier, killed Ridulph and abandoned her body in a wooded area about 120 miles west of Sycamore.
Public Defender Regina Harris said Thursday that the murder trial could last at least a week. State’s Attorney Clay Campbell did not return a call seeking comment.
The trial will be presided over by the same judge who acquitted McCullough in April on charges that he sexually assaulted his 14-year-old sister in 1962.
That case had been set for a jury trial, but McCullough decided at the last minute to have the judge rule whether he was guilty.
Stuckert acquitted McCullough, saying prosecutors did not prove their case.
Her ruling brought a rebuke from Campbell, who called it a travesty.
Harris declined to say Thursday whether McCullough, who is being held in the county jail, will again opt for a bench trial or whether he will ask for a trial by jury.
“He’s got plenty of time to think about it,” Harris said.
Authorities had suspected McCullough in Ridulph’s disappearance in 1957, but he had an alibi – he was undergoing a military physical in Chicago – which authorities say they have now discredited.
He left Sycamore shortly after Ridulph vanished to join the U.S. Air Force. After his discharge in the early 1960s, McCullough resided for a short period in Sycamore before moving West.
He worked as a police officer in Washington, but resigned in the early 1980s when he was accused of the statutory rape of a teenage girl.
McCullough was living in a retirement community and working as a night watchman at the time of his arrest in July 2011.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun