Documents turned over to attorney in 1957 killing

August 10, 2011 (SYCAMORE, Ill.)

Jack Daniel McCullough, 71, was charged in the murder of Maria Ridulph, his 7-year-old former neighbor in the small community of Sycamore.

McCullough appeared at a Wednesday court hearing via closed-circuit video from jail. He has denied wrongdoing. Though he hasn't formally entered a plea yet, his public defender Regina Harris said he intends to fight the charges.

"Absolutely, he will plead not guilty," Harris said. She said an arraignment was expected in a few weeks.

Ridulph's case, which had gone cold for decades until McCullough was charged last month, generated national headlines with President Dwight Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover reportedly asking for daily updates on the investigation.

McCullough, who was then named John Tessier and lived in Sycamore, matched the suspect's description. But he had an alibi, telling investigators that he could not have abducted the girl because he was traveling for military medical exams before enlisting in the Air Force.

McCullough was arrested in Seattle and brought to Illinois to face charges. He remained in custody Wednesday in a DeKalb County jail on $3 million bond.

Also Wednesday, the DeKalb County state's attorney's office turned over about 1,300 pages of documents to Harris. The documents contain police reports and interviews.

Harris said it is a massive amount of information and she hasn't gone through it yet. More discovery documents are expected to be turned over at a court hearing next week. An Aug. 17 court hearing was set.

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