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Dr. Sam Sheppard on Trial: The Prosecutors and the Marilyn Sheppard Murder

By Jack P. Desario; William D. Mason | Go to book overview

Eight

Science and Suspects: The Plaintiff and Efforts to Raise Reasonable Doubt

February 23, 2000—Terry Gilbert opened this fresh day of testimony by calling Kathleen Collins Dyal to the witness stand. The Sheppard team was about to embark on its Eberling theory (or “Eberling subterfuge, as the Prosecutors called it). Dyal, a thirty-seven-year-old woman, was a home health-care worker in Cleveland during the early 1980s. Gilbert asked her to recall the year of 1983, when she was approximately twenty years old. He asked her where she was employed at the time. Dyal explained that she was self-employed taking care of elderly and sick individuals. At this time she met Richard Eberling, who hired her to work night shifts at the home of Ethel Durkin, a woman in her late eighties. Dyal described how she became good friends with Eberling during the next few months and said that one night after he had had a lot to drink he talked to her about watching people die. Dyal claimed that during this conversation he said he killed Marilyn Sheppard and “hit her husband on the head with a pail and that the bitch bit the hell out of him but he got her ring and someone else paid the bill.” Two to three weeks after this incident Kathleen Dyal claimed that she was fired by Eberling because he said she had a drinking problem. Dyal told the jury that she related this story to her mother but not her husband. In 1985 she moved to Jacksonville, Florida. At a later date she was browsing through an old issue of Cleveland Magazine and came across a story about how Richard Eberling had killed Ethel Durkin. She claimed that she remembered calling the Cleveland police and telling them her recollections, but they never called her back. The next time that she heard of Richard Eberling was in March of 1996 when she learned from the television show Inside Edition that he was a suspect in the murder of Marilyn Sheppard. In response to this

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