The defense for a man who is accused of sexually assaulting, stabbing and murdering a teenage girl nearly 50 years ago in Naperville argued that he would like the search warrant tying his client to the case to be quashed.
Oral arguments in the case were heard during a court hearing held Wednesday by Will County judge Dave Carlson.
Defense attorney Terry Ekl, who spoke on behalf of the accused, Barry Lee Whelpley, contends that the court isn’t relying on facts but opinions to support probable cause for issuing and executing a search warrant. He challenged Carlson to hear his argument that any connection linking the crime to the defendant’s home in Minnesota is invalid.
About the Case
Authorities say that 15-year-old Julie Ann Hanson was murdered in the summer of 1972. She had been stabbed multiple times and sexually assaulted.
The case had remained unsolved until earlier this year when authorities say they found probable cause linking Whelpley to the crime. Authorities have since retrieved a variety of items from Whelpley’s home. They include photos, a computer and digital media.
Argument and Rebuttal
Ekl described the actions taken by authorities to search his client’s home as a classic example of a “fishing expedition.” He argued that while the warrant is broad, it doesn’t contain facts relevant to support the case.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney James Long disagreed, saying the scope of the search was focused and the ensuing evidence found speaks to what links Whelpley to the nearly 50-year-old case. He also noted that advancements in science provided the grounds which led to the development of a profile connecting DNA between the victim and the defendant’s semen.
In his affidavits to the court, Naperville Police Department Detective John Reed explained how his experience and training helped lead authorities to Whelpley.
Ekl called the experience of Reed into question, saying that his account is not sufficient to hold up the case. Long countered that argument, citing Reed’s track record with homicide investigations.
Regardless, Carlson questioned if additional documents—including complaints and affidavits—need to be unsealed publicly by the court in order for the case to proceed. After some discussion, both sides agreed that because the victim was a minor at the time of the crime, those files should only be viewable to the judge and the parties involved in the case.
Carlson is expected to rule on the defense’s motion to quash the warrant used to search Whelpley’s home next month. The judge’s decision will be heard at 10 a.m. Dec. 2 at the Will County Courthouse, 100 W. Jefferson St., in Joliet.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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