Judge deems statements made by suspect in 1972 murder of Naperville teen admissible, with some conditions

mugshot of Barry Lee Whelpley, charged in 1972 Naperville murder case
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A Will County judge says that statements made by a Minnesota man during a conversation at a police station are admissible as evidence at his trial for a 1972 murder in Naperville, as long as they aren’t references to previous statements that had already been ruled inadmissible.

Minnesota man charged in 1972 murder of 15-year-old Naperville girl

Barry Lee Whelpley, 79, spoke with police at his Minnesota home in 2021, when they came to execute a search warrant after he had been named as a suspect in the stabbing death of 15-year-old Naperville resident Julie Ann Hanson.

Hanson disappeared on July 7, 1972, last seen riding her bicycle. Her body was found the next day in a field in Naperville near the corner of 87th Street and Modaff Road. Authorities said she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed 36 times. The case remained cold until 2021 when Naperville police said they had found DNA evidence linking Whelpley to the case.

Man questioned at his home prior to being read Miranda rights

Police spoke with Whelpley in his Minnesota home for several hours. Whelpley’s attorney, Terry Ekl, said that amounted to an interrogation of his client, whom he said had not been read his Miranda rights prior to that questioning. Will County Judge David Carlson agreed, saying anything discussed during that time would be inadmissible.

The defense then argued that statements Whelpley later made during roughly 15 minutes of questioning at a Minnesota police station were also inadmissible, as officers were referencing comments Whelpley had made earlier at his home.

Judge rules statements made at police station can stand, with some conditions

But on Tuesday, Judge Carlson told the defense that he would allow into evidence statements Whelpley made to the police while at the police station, after he had been read his Miranda rights.

The only provision, he said, was that any statements made at the police station which tied back to statements made during the questioning at Whelpley’s home would be off-limits, and need to be redacted.

Whelpley will next appear in court on March 13. He is currently being held at the Will County jail.

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