Judge refuses to throw out evidence in 1972 Naperville murder case

  • Julie Ann Hanson

    Julie Ann Hanson

  • Barry Whelpley

    Barry Whelpley

Updated 12/2/2021 3:50 PM

A judge on Thursday refused to throw out evidence collected during a search of the home of a man charged with killing a Naperville girl in 1972.

Will County Judge David Carlson denied defense lawyer Terry Ekl's motion to quash a search warrant that gave Naperville police permission to search the Minnesota home of Barry L. Whelpley in June.


Prosecutors have said a dental pick and a water bottle found in Whelpley's trash contained DNA they believe matches DNA found on the body of Julie Ann Hanson.

Hanson disappeared on July 7, 1972, while riding a bicycle to her brother's baseball game. Her body was found a day later in a field near 87th Street and Modaff Road. The coroner said she had been stabbed 36 times.

Whelpley, 76, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and first-degree murder.

Naperville police used a forensic genetic genealogy company to search for a match for DNA collected off Hanson's body. That firm found potential matches to Whelpley, his father, and a deceased brother.

Whelpley was a Naperville resident at the time of Hanson's killing, records show. He was married and had fathered two daughters.

During the search of his Minnesota home, police sought items from Whelpley's time in Naperville, including ledgers and yearbooks.

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Ekl argued there wouldn't likely be evidence of the murder on any personal computers, cellphones, flash drives and other digital media police sought because those types of items didn't exist in 1972. Prosecutors argued the items might show Whelpley had searched for information about the murder.

Ekl also argued the search was improper because it was too long after the murder, and Whelpley didn't live in Minnesota in 1972.

Among the items police collected were seven cellphones, four computers, two tablet computers, 171 computer storage disks, film and photos. They also took two knives, including one found wrapped in a paper towel under a bedroom dresser.

Whelpley is due back in court on Jan. 4 for arguments about whether statements he made to police should be suppressed. Ekl contends what Whelpley said during the nine-hour search of his home should be thrown out because Whelpley was essentially in custody and had not been warned he had a right to remain silent and not incriminate himself. Prosecutors contend Whelpley was not in custody during the search.

Whelpley remains in jail on $10 million bail.

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