Man convicted in 1957 murder of 7-year-old Illinois girl

Man convicted in 1957 murder of 7-year-old Illinois girl

Man convicted in 1957 murder of 7-year-old Illinois girl

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on September 14, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 14 at 7:26 PM

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) -- Friends and family of a 7-year-old Illinois girl let out a deafening cheer Friday as a judge pronounced a 72-year-old Seattle man guilty of her murder and kidnapping some five decades ago.

Jack McCullough, who was 17-year-old John Tessier at the time, showed no hint of emotion as the judge convicted him in the 1957 slaying of Maria Ridulph, one of the oldest unsolved crimes to make it to trial in the U.S.

Maria's brother, Charles Ridulph, said he was relieved by the verdict, though the trial had been stressful.

McCullough was one of more than 100 potential suspects in the 1950s, but he had an alibi for the day of Maria's murder.

He ultimately settled in Seattle, where he worked as a Washington state police officer.

Prosecutors say his mother lied to police about her son's whereabouts and her deathbed confession in 1994 -- passed on to police by his half-sister in 2008 -- ultimately led to his conviction.

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