An appeal was recently filed in the murder case involving victim Maria Ridulph. John Daniel McCollough was convicted in 2012 of the 1957 slaying, making it one of the oldest cold cases ever prosecuted. An Illinois appeals attorney can explain the basic facts and basis for the appeal.
The Basic Facts of the Case
In 1957 in Sycamore, Illinois, a young girl was snatched while on a street corner. Her body was found later in a row of trees off the highway over a hundred miles away. Though a massive investigation was launched, it did not result in an arrest at that time. That changed more than fifty years later as result of a series of events including a death bed confession.
The Principal Evidence Against John Daniel McCullough
Two critical pieces of evidence emerged against Mr. McCullough decades after the case went cold. McCullough’s mother apparently told her daughters, McCullough’s sisters that her son “did it.” Additionally, one witness to events immediately before Maria’s disappearance identified McCullough from photographs 53 years later. Police assigned to the reopened investigation became suspicious of Mr. McCullough’s demeanor when brought in for questioning. McCullough was then convicted after a weeklong trial.
Basis for the Appeal
The most critical argument forming the basis of McCullough’s appeal comes from pretrial rulings made by the judge. The trial judge denied many of McCullough’s objections to hearsay evidence from his sisters. McCullough also questioned his mother’s reliability as she was, as he claims, heavily sedated, confused and terminally ill.
As an Illinois appeal attorney discusses, both McCullough’s attorneys and the prosecution have the opportunity to file written briefs and the matter will be scheduled for hearing.
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