McCullough granted bench trial
SYCAMORE — The man charged with kidnapping and killing a Sycamore 7-year-old more than 50 years ago requested a bench trial Tuesday.
Jack D. McCullough, 72, of Seattle, is charged with the death of Maria Ridulph, who was abducted from her Sycamore neighborhood Dec. 3, 1957. Her remains were found five months later in rural Jo Daviess County.
During a hearing Tuesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse before Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert, McCullough waived his right to a jury trial. His attorney, Acting Public Defender Robert Carlson, said he had discussed the matter with McCullough on several occasions.
In April, Stuckert found him not guilty of charges of rape and indecent liberties with a child in a different case.
The murder trial is set to begin Sept. 10. Attorneys have said they expect the trial to take at least one week. Carlson and prosecutors also filed several pretrial motions that were set for hearing on Aug. 29.
McCullough, formerly known as John Tessier, was arrested July 1, 2011, in Seattle. Police have said authorities received new information on the case several years ago that led them to focus on McCullough, who lived near Ridulph in 1957.
Ridulph's remains were exhumed from a Sycamore cemetery July 27, 2011, as prosecutors searched for DNA evidence; her remains were recently returned to her family and reburied.
McCullough was indicted Aug. 19 by a grand jury on charges of murder, kidnapping and abduction of an infant. He has said he has an alibi for the day she disappeared and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He is being held in the DeKalb County Jail on $3 million bond.
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