Lawyers seek to suppress statements made by suspect in 1972 Naperville murder

  • Barry L. Whelpley

    Barry L. Whelpley

Updated 5/4/2022 6:56 PM

Unable to get a confession out of a Minnesota man for a decades-old Naperville murder, police left their body cameras on a patio table, hoping he would confess to his wife, defense attorneys argued Wednesday in Will County court.

Barry L. Whelpley, 77, faces murder and rape charges for the 1972 death of 15-year-old Julie Ann Hanson. The Naperville teen disappeared on July 7, 1972, while riding her bicycle to her brother's baseball game. Her body was found a day later in a field near 87th Street and Modaff Road. The coroner said she had been stabbed 36 times.


For decades the case sat with no arrests.

Police homed in on Whelpley after a forensic genealogical company was able to find a match for a DNA sample collected off Julie Ann's body. The company found potential matches to Whelpley, who lived in Naperville at the time of Hanson's disappearance and death, his father and a deceased brother.

Whelpley's defense attorneys Wednesday argued videos and recordings of statements he made as police searched his home should not be used against him at trial. In written motions, they argued statements Whelpley made to police were made before he was advised of his Miranda rights. They also argued that statements he made to his wife should not be used because he was unaware cameras were still recording.

"They recorded him to try to catch him making incriminating statements to his wife," defense attorney Tracy Stanker said, claiming that police took off their body cameras and placed them on a patio table outside Whelpley's presence.

Will County Judge Dave Carlson will issue his ruling on May 17.

Whelpley was charged last June following an hourslong search of his home, in which police wore body cameras and recorded conversations they had with Whelpley and, ultimately, a conversation between Whelpley and his wife as the couple sat on their deck.

During Wednesday's hearing, Naperville police Det. John Reed testified that when he first arrived at Whelpley's Minnesota home, he informed Whelpley police were wearing body cameras and that the devices were recording everything that was said and done in his home.

At one point during the search of his home, Whelpley inquired about the beeping sound coming from the cameras, Reed said. Reed also flatly denied that police were secretly trying to record Whelpley and his wife. He said the cameras were in plain view.

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