Share “Ex-policeman gets life for 1957 death of...”

Ex-policeman gets life for 1957 death of Ill. girl

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

In asking for the longest possible sentence, DeKalb County Assistant State's Attorney Victor Escarcida tried to capture just what McCullough did to the people in the courtroom, who were children themselves when the girl vanished.

"Jack McCullough left a lifetime of emotional wreckage in his wake," he said. "Jack McCullough made Sycamore a scary place. Now there was a true boogeyman living among them."

But nobody knew it was McCullough. Though he was one of more than 100 people who were briefly suspects, he had what seemed like a solid alibi. On the day Ridulph vanished, he told investigators, he'd been traveling to Chicago for a medical exam before joining the Air Force.

McCulllough spent years in the military, first in the Air Force and then in the Army. He eventually settled in Seattle, working as a Washington state police officer.

McCullough might have lived out his life quietly, but on her deathbed in 1994, his mother told McCullough's half-sister, Janet Tessier, that she'd lied to police when she supported her son's alibi.

Once a new investigation was launched, authorities went to Chapman, Ridulph's childhood friend, and showed her an old photograph if McCullough. A half century later, she identified him as the teenager who came up to them that snowy day and introduced himself as "Johnny."

Chapman and Janet Tessier both testified at trial.

McCullough did not. On Monday, he pointed to a white box that he said contained 4,000 pages of FBI documents that he said would prove he was not in Sycamore when Ridulph disappeared. His attorneys had argued during the trial that the material supported McCullough's alibi, but Hallock ruled it inadmissible because the people in the documents were dead and could not be cross-examined. On Monday, McCullough's attorney said there would be an appeal and that the FBI documents would be part of that appeal.

McCullough, who suffers from heart and blood pressure problems, also was sentenced to five years for kidnapping — the maximum sentence for that crime in 1957. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years, his attorney said.