Cover image for Dr. Sam Sheppard on trial : the prosecutors and the Marilyn Sheppard murder
Dr. Sam Sheppard on trial : the prosecutors and the Marilyn Sheppard murder
DeSario, Jack.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 388 pages, 2 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), facsimiles ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
The new prosecutor faces an old controversy -- An unlikely setting for murder -- Did Sam murder Marilyn? -- Putting together the pieces of the puzzle -- Final trial preparation : the emergence of the prosecutor's strategy -- Opening statements : setting the stage -- The Sheppard team presents its case -- Science and suspects: the plaintiff and efforts to raise reasonable doubt -- The prosecutors speak -- Dr. Sam Sheppard: portrait of a murderer? -- Closing arguments and a verdict : the end of a legal era.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF224.S47 D47 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Marilyn Sheppard, four months pregnant and mother of a toddler son, was bludgeoned to death in her Bay Village, Ohio, home in the early morning of July 4, 1954. The cause of death was twenty-seven blows to the head with a heavy instrument. Who took her life so brutally has been the subject of much controversy and debate for nearly a half-century.

Was it her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was convicted in what was then called "the Trial of the Century," in the case that helped inspire the TV series and the movie The Fugitive? Or was the killer, as Dr. Sam claimed, a "bushy-haired intruder"? Or could it have been Richard Eberling, the window washer who worked for the family, as the Sheppards' son, Sam Reese Sheppard, believes?

Dr. Sam spent ten years in prison before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the initial verdict in an important legal decision, determining that the doctor did not receive a fair trial due to excessive press coverage. Defended by F. Lee Bailey in his second trial in Cleveland, Sheppard was found not guilty of his wife's murder. And then in 2000, in what has been referred to as "the Retrial of the Century," Sam Reese Sheppard attempted to prove in a civil trial, while suing the State of Ohio for millions of dollars, that his father had been wrongly incarcerated.

Dr. Sam Sheppard on Trial presents a comprehensive and final analysis of this controversial case from the perspective of the prosecutors. Jack P. DeSario, together with co-author William D. Mason, chief attorney for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, provides all the facts, evidence, expert testimony, both old and new, and sworn statements of the principals in this case, which concluded in April 2000. The jury unanimously found that Dr. Sheppard was not innocent.

Author Notes

Jack DeSario teaches political science at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. William D. Mason is the former Cuyahoga County prosecutor.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This volume by Jack DeSario (Mount Union College) and William Mason (Cuyahoga County prosecutor) is the first full-length presentation of the case for Dr. Sheppard's guilt. It comes in the wake of and focuses on the outcome of a civil trial held in 2000 to decide if a preponderance of evidence would find Sheppard innocent. The jury unanimously found that the evidence presented did not demonstrate Sheppard's innocence. For a public subject to a barrage of books, movies, and television shows ranging from The Fugitive to a PBS Nova special, "The Killing Trial" (1999), nearly all suggesting that Sheppard was the wrong man, this verdict likely came as a surprise. DeSario takes readers through the civil trial from prosecutor Mason's perspective. The book's strong presentation of the case against Sheppard provides a needed counterweight to works such as Cynthia L. Cooper and Sam Reese's Mockery of Justice: The True Story of the Sheppard Case (1995) and James Neff's The Wrong Man (2001). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers and lower- and upper-division undergraduates. P. J. Galie Canisius College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. x
Prologuep. 1
1 The New Prosecutor Faces an Old Controversyp. 5
2 An Unlikely Setting for Murderp. 13
3 Did Sam Murder Marilyn?p. 38
4 Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzlep. 57
5 Final Trial Preparation: the Emergence of the Prosecutor's Strategyp. 71
6 Opening Statements: Setting the Stagep. 80
7 The Sheppard Team Presents Its Casep. 99
8 Science and Suspects: the Plainti&ff; and E&ff;orts to Raise Reasonable Doubtp. 142
9 The Prosecutor Speaksp. 200
Ten Dr. Sam Sheppard- Portrait of a Murderer?p. 232
Eleven Closing Arguments and a Verdict: the End of a Legal Erap. 309
Appendix A

p. 328

Appendix B

p. 336

Appendix C

p. 340

Appendix D

p. 342

Appendix E

p. 354

Appendix F

p. 360

Appendix G

p. 363

Appendix H

p. 366

Appendix I

p. 370

Appendix J

p. 373

Appendix K

p. 377

Indexp. 380