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Will County judge tosses statements in 1972 Naperville murder case

Whatever a Minnesota man said to police searching his home in connection with a 1972 Naperville murder case cannot be used against him at trial.

Will County Judge David Carlson granted two defense motions tossing out statements Barry Whelpley made to police as they searched his home and a conversation between Whelpley and his wife that police recorded.

“It’s significant to the defense. And it’s a significant loss to the prosecution,” Whelpley’s defense attorney, Terry Ekl, said of Carlson’s ruling.

Whelpley, 77, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and first-degree murder for the 1972 death of Julie Ann Hanson. The 15-year-old Naperville girl disappeared on July 7, 1972, while riding her bicycle to her brother’s baseball game. Her body was discovered a day later in a field near 87th Street and Modaff Road. The coroner said she had been stabbed 36 times.

In his motions, Ekl argued that Whelpley was not advised of his Miranda rights during the search of his Minnesota home and that, as a result, police were not allowed to interrogate him during the search. Prosecutors argued that Whelpley was not in custody during the search, and police were allowed to talk to him.

In his ruling, however, Carlson said videos of the search provided a different take. He said the videos showed seven or eight armed police officers and that the questions asked were directly related to the 1972 murder.

“He called it exactly right,” Ekl said of the ruling. “They have a right to have simple conversation with that person. What they can’t do without Miranda is interrogate them, (and) it was crystal clear that for seven or eight hours they were trying to get him to confess.”

Ekl said Carlson’s ruling banning the use of video of a conversation between Whelpley and his wife clearly shows police were eavesdropping.

Ekl’s motions did not go into detail about what Whelpley said to the police or his wife during the search, and he declined to elaborate after Wednesday’s ruling. The Will County state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on Carlson’s ruling.

Also Wednesday, Carlson banned the use of statements made at the police station after Whelpley’s second request for an attorney.

Ekl declined to elaborate on any statements Whelpley may have made at his home or at the police station.

For decades, Julie Ann’s murder remained unsolved.

Police honed in on Whelpley after a forensic genealogical company was able to find a match for a DNA sample collected off Julie Ann’s body. The company found potential matches to Whelpley, who lived in Naperville at the time of the girl’s disappearance and death, his father and a deceased brother.

Whelpley remains in the Will County jail on $10 million bail.