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Man now cleared in girl’s 1957 killing in DeKalb: I was framed

Jack McCullough (left) in court in Sycamore last week with attorney Russell Ainsworth of the Exoneration Project. | Daily Chronicle via AP

DEKALB — A Washington state man wrongly convicted in the 1957 kidnapping and killing of a 7-year-old girl in DeKalb has filed a federal lawsuit claiming authorities conspired to frame him.

Jack McCullough’s suit accuses authorities in both states of fabricating evidence and conspiring to frame him in the death of Maria Ridulph of Illinois.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, comes days after a DeKalb County judge granted the 77-year-old a certificate of innocence.

McCullough, who lived in Illinois during the disappearance, had been convicted in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison.

But last year a prosecutor concluded that evidence backed McCullough’s alibi that he’d been 40 miles away when Maria disappeared. A judge in Sycamore agreed, ordering McCullough’s release.

The lawsuit names 15 defendants, including the Illinois State Police and Seattle police, who wouldn’t comment, the (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reported.