FILE - This July 27, 2011, file photo provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in Sycamore, Ill., shows Jack McCullough, of Seattle. Oral arguments began Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 in Elgin, Ill., in McCullough's appeal of his conviction in the 1957 killing of a 7-year-old girl from northern Illinois. McCullough was sentenced in 2012 to life in prison in the stabbing of Maria Ridulph in the city of Sycamore, Ill. (AP Photo/DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, File)
ELGIN, Illinois — Prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to convict a man two years ago in the 1957 killing of a 7-year-old girl from northern Illinois, defense attorneys argued Wednesday.
In one of the oldest unsolved crimes to go to trial in the U.S., Jack McCullough was sentenced in 2012 to life in prison in the stabbing of Maria Ridulph in the city of Sycamore. Judges on the state's Second District Appellate Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in his appeal.
McCullough's attorney, Paul Glaser, argued that prosecutors didn't produce enough evidence at trial to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He also questioned a judge's decision to exclude old FBI paperwork as evidence.
Prosecutors say McCullough, now 75, abducted Maria from a street before choking and stabbing her to death. McCullough's half-sister told police in 2008 that McCullough's mother said on her deathbed in 1994 that she knew her son killed the girl. McCullough was arrested in 2011 in Washington state where he worked as a security guard.
McCullough says he was in Rockford when the girl was killed. Appellate Prosecutor Scott Jacobson said McCullough had enough time to commit the crime then travel to Rockford.
Jacobson said the case shows that "even with the passing of time, no offense will be forgotten."
A written decision is expected from justices in three to eight weeks. Maria's family and the Sycamore mayor attended the hearing.
Sycamore is about 55 miles west of Chicago.
Information from: The Daily Chronicle, http://www.daily-chronicle.com