Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 6.44.25 PM

(Convicted Killer Jack McCullough)

A Letter From A Convicted Child Killer.. 


It’s not every day you get a letter from a convicted child killer who has just watched a TV documentary based on your book about the crime.

My recently published book, Footsteps in the Snow, is the saga of the coldest case in U.S. history ever to be brought to justice. Maria Ridulph was kidnapped and slain in 1957 when she was seven. Her killer, Jack McCullough, was found guilty of the crime 55 years later. It’s quite a story. In November, LMN aired a two-hour documentary, also called Footsteps in the Snow, that a New York Times TV critic called, “particularly thorough and thoughtfully assembled, recreating one of the more fascinating cases of modern times.”

That’s a pretty strong review.

But what did McCullough think of it? Apparently, he and the other inmates at the Pontiac Correctional Center – a Level 1 maximum security facility in Illinois – get cable. Here’s the rather snarky letter I just received from McCullough:


Dear Mr. Lachman

Congratulations on your LMN show. Very professional. Many here in Pontiac Prison agree with your premis [sic] that I am guilty of kidnap and murder and incest and rape. However, it took exactly two minutes for me to change my cellmate’s mind…


McCullough, a former police officer, goes on to warn me of the following:


In the future if you should do another show on an inmate remember that this place is full of murderers and two life terms is not longer than one so they have nothing to lose. Prime candidates for murder are policemen past or present – child killers or kidnappers…So yes I am now in danger. I have already been stabbed in the eye while I slept. The assault on me required two stitches to the back of my eyeball…It is only a matter of time.


You of course don’t have to accept any responsibility because Janet and Jeanne [his sisters who testified against him at the murder trial] are more responsible for my being here. If I win my appeal, the joke will be on all of you – but especially on you. You may want a backup plan for a rewrite.


I hope McCullough isn’t harmed in prison. After all, the judge sentenced him to life, not to death.

But he may be learning a terrible lesson – the worst thing about about prison life is living with other prisoners.