Judge grants innocence certificate in 1957 Illinois killing

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SYCAMORE, Ill. --  An Illinois judge has granted a certificate of innocence to a Washington state man who was wrongly convicted in 2012 of the 1957 kidnapping and killing of a 7-year-old girl.

The DeKalb County judge formally declared 77-year-old Jack McCullough innocent during a Wednesday court hearing. The certificate will allow McCullough to sue Illinois for damages for his wrongful conviction in Maria Ridulph's killing.

A prosecutor concluded last year that evidence backed McCullough's alibi that he had been 40 miles (64 kilometer) away when Maria disappeared. A judge agreed, ordering McCullough's release after he had served four years of a life sentence.

McCullough said at a hearing last week that he wants justice. He says he's been portrayed "as a monster" and that people still think he's one.