Originally from Clifford Ward in the Chicago Tribune

Former Sycamore resident Jack McCullough was granted a certificate of innocence Wednesday in connection with the 1957 slaying of a local girl, but the ruling may not have settled questions about perhaps the most enduring crime story in DeKalb County history.

Judge William Brady ruled that McCullough had presented enough evidence at a hearing to earn the certificate. McCullough, 77, had been tried and convicted of the crime, but the conviction later was vacated and the charges were dropped. The case remains unsolved.

McCullough testified last week that the certificate would help prove he’s not the “monster” who abducted 7-year-old Maria Ridulph off a snowy Sycamore street corner on the night of Dec. 3, 1957, and later killed her.

“We hope this will put a painful chapter behind for Jack,” Aisha Davis, an attorney for the Exoneration Project, said after the ruling.