Dr. Sam Sheppard— Portrait of a Murderer?
As the State's case entered its third week, the acrimony between the lead counsel intensified in anticipation of potentially explosive testimony by Susan Hayes and Dr. Sam Sheppard himself. Terry Gilbert presented every evidentiary argument he could think of in an effort to limit the introduction of as much of this information as possible. Mason argued just as vehemently that if the objective of this case was to seek the truth, all of this evidence had to be introduced.
The first witness on Monday, March 20, was James Wentzel, a forensic photographer for the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office. He defined his job as attempting to provide photographs that are as accurate and fair as possible. In order to accomplish this objective, he noted, he utilized a number of techniques and programs, such as digital imaging and electronic image enhancement. In response to questioning by Dean Boland, the witness addressed the issue of making photographic comparisons; in particular he assessed the comparison made by Dr. Michael Sobel, the Plaintiff's expert who matched the scar on Eberling's wrist with Marilyn Sheppard's fingernail. Wentzelclaimed that tomakethis type of comparison, one would require the actual objects, or at least good photographs of the objects with some sort of scale that allowed comparison. In reviewing the photograph of the Eberling scar, he stated that it was not suitable for comparison because the scale was not in perspective, there was little depth in the field, and the area around the scar was not in focus or well exposed. In assessing the autopsy photograph of Marilyn Sheppard's hand and nail, he noted that there was no scale and that the photo was not well composed. Wentzel testified that, despite numerous attempts, he could not enhance the photographs in a manner that would allow for a suitable comparison.
In reviewing photographs of the murder scene, including those of Dr. Kirk, Wentzel said that he was able to count and measure the stains on the