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

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

reanalysis of the murder. No evidence went unexamined: new reports were consulted; witnesses were reinterviewed; new scientific techniques were employed; all prior testimony and statements were analyzed. Out of this exhaustive effort came the truth, and it is from this perspective that we tell the full story of this tragedy.

A New York native, I had heard of the Sheppard murder trial but had no clear grasp of the facts. During the winter of 2000 I read the accounts of the Sheppard wrongful imprisonment trial with great interest. The historical significance of this case and the legal complexity of presenting evidence, experts, and witnesses based on events that occurred in 1954 intrigued me. At the conclusion of the trial I invited Prosecutor William Mason to present his perspective of the Sheppard trial to a special convocation at Mount Union College, where I teach political science and law courses. Unlike other lectures hosted by the college, this one attracted a large and attentive audience from across the state. The account Mason provided was fascinating and contradicted many of the popular impressions and assumptions held by members of the audience. During the question-and-answer session that followed his lecture, Mason was bar- raged with a number of queries about specific suspects and evidence. Based on this dynamic interaction, it was clear that this case still had a public clamoring for information. I was convinced that this was a story that had to be told—for the sake of all concerned: the public, the law enforcement community of Ohio, and the truth. I was certain that my background as both an academic and a lawyer would provide the sorts of insights essential to this project. When, excitedly, I approached Mason with the prospect of writing a book about the case from his perspective, he was reluctant. He did not want to be viewed as exploiting the case. I reassured him that I was interested only in telling the story as the pursuit of truth and as correcting the impugned integrity and reputations of those in the criminal justice community. And, after a series of meetings and lengthy discussion, my enthusiasm prevailed.

Once Bill agreed to collaborate on the task of retelling this legal epic, the daunting job of writing the book began. In preparation I was provided boxes of materials from the Prosecutor's Office. Among the most important were those containing thousands of pages of the trial transcripts from 1954 and 1966 (the year of the second trial); hundreds of pictures of the crime scene, suspects, and evidence; and forty-four VHS

-viii-

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

Table of contents

  • Dr. Sam Sheppard the Prosecutors and the Marilyn Sheppard Murder on Trial *
  • Contents *
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Prologue 1
  • One - The New Prosecutor Faces an Old Controversy 5
  • Two - An Unlikely Setting for Murder 13
  • Three - Did Sam Murder Marilyn? 38
  • Four - Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle 57
  • Five - Final Trial Preparation: the Emergence of the Prosecutor's Strategy 71
  • Six - Opening Statements: Setting the Stage 80
  • Seven - The Sheppard Team Presents Its Case 99
  • Eight - Science and Suspects: the Plaintiff and Efforts to Raise Reasonable Doubt 142
  • Nine - The Prosecutor Speaks 200
  • Ten - Dr. Sam Sheppard— Portrait of a Murderer? 232
  • Eleven - Closing Arguments and a Verdict: the End of a Legal Era 309
  • Appendix A 328
  • Appendix B 336
  • Appendix C 340
  • Appendix D 342
  • Appendix E 354
  • Appendix F 360
  • Appendix G 363
  • Appendix H *
  • Appendix I *
  • Appendix J 373
  • Appendix K 377
  • Index 380
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