SEATTLE — A former Seattle man, convicted in a 1957 cold case murder in Illinois, is one step closer to getting a new trial.
Today, 76-year-old Jack McCullough was in an Illinois courtroom asking for a new attorney and new trial.
"Your honor, I've been locked up now for almost five years. I'm innocent and can prove I'm innocent. There has to be an end to this somewhere," said McCullough.
McCullough was living in Sycamore, Illinois 59 years ago when 7-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared and was later found murdered.
While a witness put McCullough at the scene where the girl was kidnapped, the DeKalb County state’s attorney now says phone records indicate he was actually 40 miles away.
"It is well established Jack made a phone call from another city," said McCullough’s stepdaughter, Janey O’Connor.
McCullough moved to Seattle but remained a suspect for five decades. In 2011, he was arrested, charged with Ridulph’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.
"What the 2010 investigation attempted to do was use memories and emotion to change the timeline of the abduction," said O’Connor.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge William Brady offered to provide McCullough with a new attorney. It is the first of three steps to a new trial.
"How long is this going to take?" asked McCullough, who has consistently maintained his innocence.
The brother of Maria Ridulph was also in the courtroom in an effort to keep McCullough behind bars.
"I have no sympathy for Jack being in prison because I believe in all my heart that he's guilty," said Charles Ridulph. Both Ridulph and McCullough will be back in court on April 15th.
Cox Media Group