The Dr. Sam Sheppard Trial

1954

On July 4th, 1945 Marilyn Sheppard was found brutally murdered in her home in Bay Village Ohio. Her husband, Dr. Sheppard, claimed to have been hit on the head twice by a bushy-haired male upon finding his wife's dead body. However seeing no sign of a break in the police named Dr. Sheppard their prime suspect.
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Jury Selection

The jury for Dr. Sam Sheppards trial was made up of most men, with there being seven men and five women. The judge for Sheppard's case was a seventy-year-old man named Edward Blythin.

Defense Opening Statement

- Mr. Garmone tells the jury no to come to any conclusions after hearing Mr. Mahon's statement.

- Garmone uses the Sheppard family's finances to prove that the couple was happily married, and to show how Dr. Sheppard wanted to ensure a good life for his wife and son.

- Dr. Sheppard finances are also used to prove that he was not having an affair with an employee at his hospital.

- Mr. Garmone finishes by saying, "...This will be the proof that you will receive, not with a desire to do justice but with a desire to defeat it."

Prosecution Opening Statement

- Mr. Mahon starts by explaining to the jury the process of the trial, and what is expected of his opening statement.

- Mahon proceeds to give facts to the jury about the Sheppard's life, followed by a detailed account of what happened the night of the murder.

- Next Mahon starts to give evidence as too why and how Sheppard killed his wife. He follows this with reasoning behind his accusations.

- Finally Mr. Mahon disproves the common theory that a burglar broke into the house killing Marilyn Sheppard, by mentioning the fact that the police found no signs of a break in.

- Mr. Mahon says, "...Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure that you will also point the finger of guilt at Dr. Sam Sheppard for a brutal slaying."

Presentation of Evidence

Prosecution Testimony of Susan Hayes

Hayes admitted to have a intimate relationship with Dr. Sheppard both in California and in their home town. She also reveled that Sheppard had given her a ring and a replaced a watch she lost.

Prosecution Testimony of Officer Fred Drenkan

Officer Drenkan was one of the first officers at the scene. He question Dr. Sheppard about his assailants, if there was one or two, and about his appearance when police arrived. He also said that while he was being question Sheppard appeared to be calm and collected.

Defense Testimony of Dr. Sam Sheppard

Dr. Sheppard recalled that he heard his wife call his name, and went to go check on her. He then said he was hit on the back of the head and woke up in the lake behind his house with his head on the beach. He went inside to find his wife dead after this he said he then called a friend of his, Mr. Houk, to come over. It was after this that the police where called and arrived at the Sheppard home.

Prosecution Closing Statement

The prosecution finished by again reminding the jury that it could not have been a burglar. Why would someone come in and hit Mrs. Sheppard on the head 35 times and Mr. Sheppard only once. Mr. Mahon said at one point, "Be fair to the defendant. Show him the same mercy he showed his victim."

Defense Closing Statement

The defense admitted that Sheppard had an affair, but that said that that is not the only thing to marriage. They said that Dr. Sheppard was only human, and his still loved his wife. The defense stated, "Five and one-half months after the murder of Marilyn Sheppard, the state does not not how she was killed, with what weapon she was killed, or why she was killed. Yet on the basis of flimsy evidence, the state is asking you to send Sam Sheppard to the electric chair."
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Jury Deliberation and Verdict

After 6 weeks of testimony and 100 hours of deliberation the Jury reached a verdict. Dr. Sheppard was convicted of second-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Sources

"EngagedScholarship@CSU." Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

"Resource, Classroom Ready. THE AMERICAN JURY: A CASE STUDY (n.d.): n. pag. Web."

“Sam Sheppard” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

"The Dr. Sam Sheppard Trials (1954 Trial and 1966 Retrial)." The Dr. Sam Sheppard Trials (1954 Trial and 1966 Retrial). N.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.