Man charged in 1972 stabbing death of Naperville teen pleads not guilty

After 49 years of trying to crack the case, advancements in DNA testing and geneaology helped police bring charges against retired Minnesota welder Barry Lee Whelpley.

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Julie Ann Hanson.

Provided

A retired Minnesota welder who was charged three weeks ago in the brutal 1972 stabbing death of a Naperville teenager pleaded not guilty Thursday at an arraignment hearing.

Barry Lee Whelpley, 76, appeared at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death and rape of 15-year-old Julie Ann Hanson.

Whelpley was arrested in Minnesota and is being held at the Will County Jail on $10 million bail.

He was 27 and lived within a mile of Hanson’s home at the time she was killed.

Whelpley’s attorney, Terry A. Ekl, was not immediately available for comment.

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Barry Lee Whelpley

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Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall have offered few details about what led to the arrest and charges, saying only after announcing the charges June 4 that gains in the case were based on “tremendous advancements” in DNA testing and genealogy.

Hanson was last seen riding away from her home on a bicycle in the summer of 1972.

An indictment released Thursday alleges the murder took place July 7.

Her bike was found July 8 on a gravel road near 87th Street. The teenager’s body was found nearby. She had been stabbed 36 times and sexually assaulted, investigators said at the time.

Marshall said the case had not been become a “cold” one but was one that detectives continually investigated.

“We had Julie’s picture on our desks in investigations for all these years,” Marshall said.

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