DeKalb prosecutors mull whether to try McCullough for murder or sex assault first

DeKalb County prosecutors will decide by next week what they will bring a Seattle man to trial for first--a 1957 murder or a sex crime from the early 1960s.

Jack D. McCullough remains in the DeKalb County Jail, where he has been held since summer, when he was charged with the 1957 murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph of Sycamore.

During the investigation of Ridulph’s death, authorities say they obtained evidence that McCullough sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. Last Friday, a DeKalb County grand jury indicted McCullough on one count of rape and four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

According to court files, the alleged sex assault took place in Sycamore sometime between November 1961 and the following November.

McCullough’s attorney, Public Defender Regina Harris, has filed motions for speedy trials in both the murder and sex assault, and Thursday Judge RobbinÖ StuckertÖ asked prosecutors which case they intend to pursue first. Assistant State’s Atty. Victor EscarcidaÖ said prosecutors will decide by McCullough’s next court date, which is set for Oct. 12.

McCullough is also expected to be arraigned for the sex charges on that date.

Authorities allege that McCullough was chatting with Ridulph and a friend just before the girl’s disappeared in 1957. Her body was found five months later, about 120 miles away from her home.

McCullough allegedly left Illinois shortly after the discovery of Ridulph’s body, but he periodically returned to visit. According to Seattle court records, the alleged victim in the sex assault cases told authorities that McCullough habitually molested her.

He was arrested at his Seattle home in June and is being held in lieu of $3 million bond.

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