To the editor:
This letter is long overdue, but it needs to be written.
I am outraged at the way that convicted killer of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, Jack McCullough, was let out of prison last year and declared to be innocent earlier this year. I watched his entire murder trial live, and I’ve also read an entire book about his case. Everything pointed to his guilt, which led to his conviction. Testimony after testimony from various parties showed him to be guilty. His own mother said that he was guilty on her death bed, and the little girl who saw the man who abducted the victim identified him in a photo lineup after years of not identifying anyone.
Maria’s family was convinced of his guilt, but even more significantly, McCullough’s own family was equally convinced of his guilt. His own sister accused him of raping her when she was 12. He later lost his job as a police officer for sexual assault. There was so much evidence that I can’t list it all here due to letter length limitations, but anyone who actually watched the trial knows that he was guilty as sin.
McCullough offered up a flimsy piece of evidence that proved that a certain phone call was made at a certain time and nothing else. He claimed that this proved that he was in Rockford at the time of the murder, but it proved no such thing. McCullough’s stepdaughter and her boyfriend were the only people in the world who believed his claims of innocence.
Now, however, the narrative in the media seems to be that “McCullough turned out to be innocent after all” and that he was “proven to be innocent.” No he wasn’t! The ONLY reason that McCullough was released was because of one man: State’s Attorney Richard Schmack. Once Schmack took office, he decided to flip the bird to his predecessor, Clay Campbell, who successfully prosecuted McCullough by releasing McCullough. He claimed to have been convinced of McCullough’s innocence by the flimsy phone call evidence, so he let him walk.
I could have understood granting him a new trial based on that, but ignoring all the other evidence and just letting him go was a travesty of justice.
Now this has become a partisan issue, with many Democrats believing the Democrat Schmack. Even worse, they’re calling McCullough’s sister a liar over her rape allegations. It’s beyond disgusting. One man unilaterally had the power to thwart the justice that took so long to bring about.