A 77-year-old Seattle man has been granted a Certificate of Innocence in the 1957 kidnapping and murder of a Sycamore girl.
Jack McCullough was not in court in DeKalb County today when Judge William Brady announced his decision. This clears the way for McCullough to receive up to $85,000 from the state for wrongful conviction. He served four years in prison before his conviction was vacated last year.
7-year-old Maria Ridulph was kidnapped near her home in Sycamore in 1957. Her body was found several months later. The case is still open.
After Judge William Brady announced his decision, Ridulph's sister Patricia Quinn told reporters she was disappointed and still believes McCullough is guilty of Maria's murder. DeKalb County State's Attorney Rick Amato read a statement where he said his options had been limited by the actions of the previous State's Attorney Richard Schmack, who had not objected to the Certificate of Innocence and had presented a review of the case that showed McCullough was in Rockford at the time of the kidnapping. Amato says he cannot retry McCullough unless new evidence is discovered.