15-minute conversation with investigators can be used in man’s murder trial, judge rules

Whatever a Minnesota man charged in the 1972 killing of a Naperville teenager said to investigators during a 15-minute conversation at the police station can be used at trial as long as those statements don’t tie back to statements already ruled inadmissible.

Barry Lee Whelpley, 78, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and first-degree murder in the death of Julie Ann Hanson. The Minnesota man was arrested in 2021 after DNA evidence linked him to the case.

The 15-year-old Naperville girl disappeared on July 7, 1972, while riding her bicycle to her brother’s baseball game. Her body was discovered a day later in a field near 87th Street and Modaff Road. The coroner said she had been stabbed 36 times.

Will County Judge David Carlson previously ruled that statements Whelpley made to police or his wife at his home were inadmissible. Defense attorney Terry Ekl argued that Whelpley, who never confessed or made any other admissions to police, was essentially interrogated at his home for seven hours without being read his Miranda rights.

Ekl sought to have statements Whelpley made to investigators at the police station also ruled inadmissible, arguing they were connected to the interrogation at the house. Allowing the statements from the police station would circumvent Carlson’s ruling, Ekl argued in his motion.

Though Carlson denied Ekl’s motion saying there was a break in questioning, he said any statements at the police station that referred back to questioning at the house will have to be redacted from the police station interrogation.

“I’m not going to let that be a back door into suppressed evidence,” Carlson said.

Defense and prosecuting attorneys said they would work together to edit the statements at the police station.

“I don’t know what’s going to be left of this statement when it’s edited,” Ekl said.

Carlson also had previously ruled that statements made at the police station after Whelpley asked for an attorney could not be used at trial.

Whelpley will appear in court again on March 13 for a status hearing. Ekl said he anticipates going to trial as early as this fall.

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