Sam Sheppard Case Study

By Anthony Wong

Sam Sheppard's Life

Sam Sheppard was born on December 29, 1923 in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent his whole life in Cleveland. As Sheppard attended high school he met his wife in the future, Marilyn. The couple decided to stay in Cleveland and lived in a charmed suburban area.

In 1954 Sheppard’s wife was found bludgeoned to death in their bedroom. During his trial Sheppard said that someone broke in and hit his wife twice on the head. But because that there wasn't any evidence of a break in, Sam Sheppard became the prime suspect of the case. After studying the case careful with much consideration, Sam Sheppard was found guilty of second degree murder and was sentenced in jail for life. Sheppard’s attorney argued that the trial was too publicized to make it a fair trial, his appeal was denied. However, in 1964 F. Lee Bailey took up the case and it resulted in Sheppard’s release. Later on federal appeals reinstated his conviction and Sheppard was faced with another trial. But this time there were no cameras and few reporters, Sheppard was found not guilty this time on November 16, 1965 because of how troublesome it was in the first trial.

Sam Sheppard’s later life went downhill after he was released. He turned to alcohol which later on resulted in his death because of liver failure on April 6, 1970. Upon his death his son also named Sam wanted to find the real killer. He turned to Richard Eberling hoping more information of the murder of his mother. Eberling was in prison and wrote to Sam that Marilyn was killed by Esther Houk. Despite the claims, Eberling himself became a main suspect when DNA testing pointed towards him. Sheppard’s son brought a case to deem his father innocent, however on January 31, 2000, his father was named not guilty.