Homicide

Man serving life term in 1957 murder case hopes for freedom

  • FILE - In this March 29, 2016 file photo, Jack McCullough, appears in court for a hearing on his petition for post-conviction relief at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough, 76, who is serving a life sentence for the 1957 slaying of an Illinois schoolgirl, is hoping to be set free at a hearing Friday, April 15, 2016. A prosecutor re-examined evidence and concluded that McCullough couldn't have committed the crime. The former Washington state security guard was convicted in 2012 in the killing of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, in one of the oldest unsolved cases to go to trial. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT

    FILE - In this March 29, 2016 file photo, Jack McCullough, appears in court for a hearing on his petition for post-conviction relief at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough, 76, who is serving a life sentence for the 1957 slaying of an Illinois schoolgirl, is hoping to be set free at a hearing Friday, April 15, 2016. A prosecutor re-examined evidence and concluded that McCullough couldn't have committed the crime. The former Washington state security guard was convicted in 2012 in the killing of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, in one of the oldest unsolved cases to go to trial. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 29, 2016, file photo, Jack McCullough appears in court for a hearing on his petition for post-conviction relief at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough, who a prosecutor says was wrongly convicted in the abduction and killing of a 7-year-old Illinois schoolgirl in 1957 will be released from prison, a judge ordered Friday, April 15, 2016. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT(/Daily Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT

    FILE - In this March 29, 2016, file photo, Jack McCullough appears in court for a hearing on his petition for post-conviction relief at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough, who a prosecutor says was wrongly convicted in the abduction and killing of a 7-year-old Illinois schoolgirl in 1957 will be released from prison, a judge ordered Friday, April 15, 2016. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT(/Daily Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Jack McCullough winks at his stepdaughter Janey O'Connor behind him as he sits during a hearing in the DeKalb County Courthouse on Friday, April 15, 2016 in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough who a prosecutor says was wrongly convicted in the 1957 killing of an Illinois schoolgirl was released Friday shortly after a judge vacated his conviction, meaning that one of the oldest cold cases to be tried in U.S. history has officially gone cold again. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT

    Jack McCullough winks at his stepdaughter Janey O'Connor behind him as he sits during a hearing in the DeKalb County Courthouse on Friday, April 15, 2016 in Sycamore, Ill. McCullough who a prosecutor says was wrongly convicted in the 1957 killing of an Illinois schoolgirl was released Friday shortly after a judge vacated his conviction, meaning that one of the oldest cold cases to be tried in U.S. history has officially gone cold again. (Danielle Guerra/Daily Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; CHICAGO TRIBUNE OUT  (The Associated Press)

A 76-year-old man serving a life sentence for the 1957 slaying of an Illinois schoolgirl is hoping to be set free after a prosecutor re-examined evidence and concluded the former Washington state security guard couldn't have committed the crime.

Jack McCullough was convicted in 2012 in the killing of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, in one of the oldest unsolved cases to go to trial.

Defense lawyers will argue why McCullough should be released at a hearing Friday.

DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack agrees that McCullough should be freed. Schmack says old and new evidence proves McCullough was 35 miles away when the second-grader was abducted as she played in the snow in Sycamore, Illinois.

Maria's body was found months later.