Following is the speech Jack prepared for sentencing. My understanding is all reference he makes to 1957 & 1958 are based on the FBI files he read over the course of a year, and not on memory. He did add more while in speaking, but these were his prepared remarks:
Before I begin, I would like to thank my attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office, Tom McCulloch and Robert Carlson, who have believed in me.
Special thanks to investigator, Crystal Harrolle, who went thru all 4,000 pages of FBI documents to find the 15 pages of reports that proved my innocence in the Ridulph case Yes, proved, beyond a doubt that in 1957, I could not have been involved in the kidnap of Maria Ridulph. These reports were not even allowed to be referred to at trial.
I would like to thank Janey O’Connor (my step-daughter) who was here from Seattle to offer her support. She is my champion on the internet, in the media and in my heart.
I am deeply indebted to my wife and best friend Sue, who has kept us from poverty and been my emotional anchor for the past 14 months of confinement.
Your Honor and people of DeKalb County: I am Jack Daniel McCullough. I served in the Air Force, I am a former Army Captain, police officer and corporate vice president.
Since my arrest in June 2011, I have been tried and declared guilty of the crime of kidnap and murder of Maria Ridulph. A crime I did not, would not and could not have done.
This is the oldest, active cold case in American history. The kidnap occurred on December 3, 1957 about 7pm.
The FBI interviewed approximately 1,800 suspects. Several suspects were of high interest and one man was positively identified by the only eye witness, Kathy Chapman. Thomas Rivard was identified on December 21, 1957 by Kathy Chapman in a lineup at a jail in Milwaukee, WI. The FBI actually filmed a movie of his appearance and then distributed the movie to area police departments and residents of Sycamore to view because he so strongly resembled the “Johnny” of Kathy Chapman’s 8yr. old memory. No one ever said it resembled me.
I was well known in the town of Sycamore and in the local neighborhood. And interestingly enough, Kathy Chapman’s father struck me with his car on April 1, 1947 as I was walking home from school to my residence on Center Cross Street.
Because I was called “Johnny” when I was young and because I lived a block and a half away from Maria Ridulph, I was interviewed, given a polygraph test and thoroughly investigated and cleared by the FBI. The same FBI who later in my military career approved my Top Secret Crypto clearance for my position as an Army Intelligence Analyst.
Now, 55 years later, by hearsay alone, I stand convicted of kidnap and murder.
I didn’t know just how good the FBI agents were until I read some of the 4,000 pages of discovery that were presented to my attorneys and investigator. However, one of my disappoints was to find out that the people that lived in my memory and in the FBI reports are now dead or senile. Only one of the witnesses that were important to my alibi is still alive. Colonel Theodore Liberwitz, who is 90 yrs. old, lives in a nursing home and is a recent stroke victim. He is unable to recall my conversation with him that occurred on December 3, 1957 in the evening hours between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The second Air Force Officer that I spoke with that evening, Technical Sergenat John Froom, is deceased.
Everything I told the FBI and everyone I encountered on the evening of December 3, 1957, were interviewed and or investigated. The reports that were most important to me still exist and they verify that I placed a collect phone call from Rockford, IL at 6:57 p.m. to my dad who answered the call at our residence in Sycamore, IL. The phone call lasted until 6:59 p.m. and it was verified by the collect call operator that my dad, did in fact, answer the call at our residence in Sycamore, IL. Dan Schaffer, the general manager for the Sycamore-Ogle Telephone Company confirmed this call on December 9, 1957 when the FBI interviewed him.
Colonel Liberwitz, Sgt. Froom and the general manager of the telephone company confirm that I was in Rockford, IL on December 3, 1957 during the time that Maria Ridulph was kidnapped. Based on the FBI reports that were written at the time, Maria Ridulph was kidnapped at 7 p.m.
Also included in the 4,000 pages of FBI reports are exact details of the descriptions that 8 year old Kathy Chapman gave at the time of the kidnapping, the time of the kidnapping and how the community responded.
The FBI establishes that “Johnny” made contact with the two girls prior to 6:40 p.m. because according to Mrs. Ridulph’s FBI statement, Maria retrieved her doll at 6:40 p.m. The FBI reports, further establish that Maria Ridulph was last seen at 7p.m. because Kathy Chapman asked“Johnny” what time it was before she left to get her mittens and “Johnny” replied: 7 p.m. The police and neighbors were all in the streets by 8 p.m.
These FBI reports were authored at the time of the disappearance; within them are the accurate details of the time, statements, and descriptions—unfortunately the same does not hold true for Kathy Chapman and the other witnesses’ memories.
Your Honor, you partly based your guilty verdict on the testimony of two murderers and an undocumented Mexican rapist. Their story was that I told them that I strangled Maria Ridulph. In the first place why would I tell them anything when I have FBI documents that exonerate me? And secondly, none of the witnesses supported their claims; not even the forensic expert who testified.
Your Honor, you said that they knew things that only I could have told them and therefore they were telling the truth. But there was a way for them to have inside information. John Doe and Chris Diaz bunks were three feet from the telephone where I made calls every other day to my wife.
Your Honor, I waived extradition to come to Illinois to clear my name. I gave a DNA sample voluntarily because I knew there could not have been a match. I knew that the FBI reports would prove again that I could not possibly have committed this crime
The prosecution has not proven anything beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your Honor, many here are waiting for you to sentence me to life in prison. My question to you is, since when is life in prison the appropriate sentence for an innocent man? What purpose is served if you put an innocent man in prison? In order to sentence me, in the name of fairness and justice, you must look in the box!
The FBI reports that you would not allow into trial show that I could not have been in both Sycamore and Rockford at the same time and that time is 7 p.m.; when it is documented that Maria Ridulph was kidnapped. Just because the witnesses that support my defense are all dead or senile doesn’t mean that changes the facts! The state in this case has most definitely benefited from the passage of time! You ruled to keep the FBI reports out because of hearsay but you failed to recognize that those reports should have been allowed in because they are both reliable and it was out of necessity.
I have shown you the error of your judgment when it comes to the criminals’ stories and alluded to multiple differences in 8 year old Kathy Chapman and the other witnesses’ 1957 memories compared to their 2012 memories of the crime. You denied me the right to present the FBI reports that included all the facts and statements that exonerated me in 1957 and still should have exonerated me now in 2012.