You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ex Cop Wrongly Convicted In 7-Year-Old Girl's 1957 Slaying is Released

Inside Edition Inside Edition 18/04/2016 Inside Edition
Ex Cop Wrongly Convicted In 7-Year-Old Girl's 1957 Slaying is Released: A judge in Illinois has overturned a conviction in the murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, who was killed over half a century ago. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. A judge in Illinois has overturned a conviction in the murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph, who was killed over half a century ago.

An ex-cop wrongly convicted of an over half-century old slaying has been released.

Jack McCullough became a free man on Friday after a judge vacated his conviction in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old Illinois girl.

McCullough, 76, was convicted in September 2012 in what was one of the oldest unsolved crimes in American history. He received the maximum sentence of life behind bars.

Following a six-month review, Judge William Brady set McCullough free, citing evidence that the former Washington state police officer was miles away from where Maria Ridulph was abducted while playing in the snow in December 1957.

Prosecutors contended in 2012 that then 17-year-old McCullough dragged Maria into an alley and choked her with a wire, before stabbing her to death.

Prosecutors maintained the teenage McCullough then drove the girl's body 100 miles to a wooded area where it was discovered months later.

However, DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack's six-month review concluded that McCullough couldn't possibly have killed Maria, the AP reports.

Schmack found evidence that McCullough had been 35 miles away in Rockford, Illinois, when Maria was abducted.

Hours after the decision, McCullough's stepdaughter, Janey O'Connor, arrived to drive him home. 

Schmack told the court his office wouldn't retry McCullough if a retrial was ordered because prosecutors were fully convinced of McCullough's innocence.

However, McCullough, a Washington resident, will not be allowed to leave the state of Illinois until a formal decision is made regarding retrial.

More from Inside Edition

Inside Edition
Inside Edition
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon