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updated: 10/2/2012 7:12 PM

Killer sends letter to Sycamore residents

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  • Jack McCullough

    Jack McCullough

Associated Press

A man convicted last month of kidnapping and killing a Sycamore girl almost 55 years ago has written a letter to city residents blaming a judge for discarding documents that he says would prove his innocence.

Jack McCullough contends that FBI records barred from his trial provide him an alibi for the night 7-year-old Maria Ridulph was abducted, the (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reported Tuesday.

McCullough advised Sycamore residents to review the documents and "set me free."

"If all parties had read the documents, it should have caused a reasonable person to conclude that I could not have been `Johnny,' because at the exact time of the kidnapping, I was in Rockford, 40 miles away," wrote McCullough, who did not testify on his own behalf.

Kane County Associate Judge James Hallock ruled the records could not be admitted as evidence because the people in them were dead and could not be cross-examined.

DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell said none of the people named in the documents had any independent knowledge as to McCullough's whereabouts. Records indicate that McCullough told several people he had an alibi, not that anyone could establish he had an alibi.

"The truth is that the FBI reports did not and could not clear the defendant," Campbell said.

McCullough's attorney, Tom McCulloch, said the years since Ridulph's death seemed to be on the state's side in the case, adding the ruling barring use of the FBI records likely will be a large part of an appeal.

"I think the problem ... is the passage of time made everything that was favorable to Jack inadmissible, at least according to the judge's ruling," he said. "I don't think there is a rational explanation right at the moment."

McCullough, 72, was found guilty of murder, kidnapping and abduction of an infant. He is being held in the DeKalb County jail awaiting sentencing.

Trial testimony indicates McCullough approached Ridulph and a friend as they played and won Maria's trust by talking about dolls and giving her piggyback rides. After the friend ran home to grab mittens, authorities say McCullough dragged Maria into an alley, where he choked and stabbed her to death.

Prosecutors say McCullough was sexually attracted to the second-grader.

McCullough was briefly a suspect, like more than 100 others, in the 1950s. He was convicted following a deathbed accusation by McCullough's mother in 1994 that was passed on to police in 2008 by his half-sister

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