Selected Testimony of Sam Sheppard in his 1954 Murder Trial
December 9, 1954
'A. The first thing that I can recall was hearing Marilyn cry out my name once or twice, which was followed by moans, loud moans and noises of some sort, I was awakened by her cries and in my drowsy recollection, stimulated to go to Marilyn which I did as soon as I could navigate.
'Q. Now, just one question here. Did you have a thought in your mind at that time as to what caused Marilyn to cry out?
"A. My subconscious feeling was that Marilyn was experiencing one of the convulsions that she had experienced earlier in her pregnancy and I ascended the stairway. As I went upstairs and into the room I felt that I could visualize a form of some type with a light top. As I tried to go to Marilyn I was intercepted or grappled. As I tried to shake loose or strike, I felt that I was struck from behind and my recollection was cut off. The next thing I remember was coming to a very vague sensation in a sitting position right next to Marilyn's bed, facing the hallway, facing south. I recall vaguely recognizing my wallet.
'Q. Now, just a moment. At that point have you any way or can you determine--is there any way of determining the length of time between the time you were knocked out and when you came to this sitting position?
A. No, sir, no way that I know of.
'Q. Now, I am handing you state's exhibit 27 and defendant's exhibit T. Is that your wallet?
A. Yes, sir, it is.
'Q. When was the last time you had it in your hand before I handed it to you this morning?
A. It must have been that morning.
'Q. That morning. Now, you say--what? A. I may have had it in my hand at the inquest. I'm not sure whether Doctor Danaceau handed it to me or just held it.
'Q. I see, but----
A. Mr. Danaceau--excuse me.
A. Yes, sir.
'Q. Was there a light in the house anywhere?
A. Yes, sir there was.
'Q. that you remember?
A. There was a light.
'Q. And where was that light?
A. I cannot say for sure, of my own knowledge.
'Q. There was some kind of light?
A. Yes, sir.
'Q. Now, then, after you awakened or came to consciousness repeat, as best as you can, in your own words, to this jury what you saw and what you did.
A. Well, I realized that I had been hurt and as I came to some sort of consciousness, I looked at my wife.
'Q. What did you see?
A. She was in very bad condition. She had been-- she had been badly beaten. I felt that she was gone. And I was immediately fearful for Chip. I went into Chip's room and in some way evaluated that he was all right. I don't know how I did it. I, at this time or shortly thereafter, heard a noise downstairs.
'Q. And what did you do when you heard the noise downstairs?
A. And I--I can't explain my emotion, but I was stimulated to chase or get whoever or whatever was responsible for what had happened. I went down the stairs, went into the living room, over toward the east portion of the living room and visualized a form.
'Q. Now, where was that form when you first visualized him?
A. Between the front door of the house and the yard somewhere.
'Q. Now, are you able to tell the jury what your mental condition was when you came out of this--awoke from this attack?
A. I was very confused. It might be called punchy, in language that we use as slang. I was stimulated or driven to try to chase this person, which I did. My----
'Q. And when you saw the form, what did you do?
A. Well, I tried to pursue it as well as I could under the circumstances.
'Q. And where did you pursue it?
A. Toward the steps to the beach at which time I lost visualization of this form.
'Q. Was it dark?
A. Beg pardon?
'Q. Was it dark? Dark?
A. Yes, sir, it was dark but there was enough light from somewhere that I could see this form.
'Q. Yes, all right.
A. I descended the stairway and to the landing and I visualized the form going down, or as he came on the beach. And it was at this time that I felt that I could visualize a silhouette that was describable. I----
'Q. What happened on the beach?
A. I descended as rapidly as I could. I lunged or lurched and grasped this individual from behind. Whether I caught up with him or whether he awaited me, I can't say. I felt as though I had grasped an immovable object of some type. I was conscious thereafter of only a choking or twisting type of sensation, and that is all that I can remember until I came to some sort of very vague sensation in the water, the water's edge.
'Q. Were you able to determine anything about that person?
A. Yes sir.
'Q. And what?
A. Well, I felt that it was a large, relatively large form; the clothing was dark from behind; there was evidence of a good sized head with a bushy appearance at the top of the head--hair.
'Q. Now, then, when you came to the second time, just where were you?
A. I don't know exactly where I was. I was----
'Q. Were you on the beach?
A. I was on the beach with----
'Q. Where was your head and where were your feet?
A. My feet were in the water and my head was directed to the sea wall, toward the south, generally. I could have been slightly askew. The waves were breaking over me and even moving my lower part of my body some.
'Q. What was the condition of light at that time?
'Q. Light, yes.
A. It was light enough to see at that time. I could see Huntington later when I came to enough sensation to see at all.
'Q. Day was breaking, is that right?
A. I would say it had broken somewhat.
'Q. Day had broken. What was your mental and physical condition as you remember it now, that you were in at the time that you came to consciousness on the beach?
A. My mental condition was that I was extremely confused. I didn't know where I was or how long I had been there, or my own name, for that matter.
'Q. Do you know how long you lay on the beach before you got up?
A. No sir, I don't.
'Q. Well, you did get up to your feet?
A. I finally did.
'Q. Do you know how you got up the steps? Do you have any recollection of that?
A. I remember, as I finally came to enough sensation to get to my feet, I rather staggered up the stairway and as I was going up, or as I was recognizing that this was my house, I entered the house and came to the realization that I had been hurt and that I had been struck by an intruder and I was then fearful for Marilyn although I can't say that I actually remembered of seeing her.
'Q. You remember what?
A. I don't say that at that time I remembered seeing her the previous time upstairs.
'Q. How was your mind working? Was there any locking of your mental processes at that time?
A. The best I can explain is that my mind was working like a nightmare or a dream, very horrible dream.
'Q. And then what did you do when you got in the house?
A. I eventually went up the stairs. I'm not sure just exactly how rapidly I went upstairs but I did finally go upstairs and it was at that time that I re-examined Marilyn.
'Q. Was there enough light in the room then to see her?
A. Yes sir.
'Q. What did you see?
A. I saw that she had been terribly beaten.
'Q. Did you determine that she was dead?
A. Yes, I thought that I did.
'Q. What was your feeling at that particular time, if you had any feeling, that you remember?
A. I was horrified, I was shaken beyond explanation, and I felt that maybe I'd wake up, maybe this was all a terrible nightmare or dream and I walked around, paced, I may have rechecked little Chip. Very likely I did, but I can't say specifically that I did, and I may have gone back in to see Marilyn. As I recall--I could have passed out again, I don't remember but I was staggered. Finally I went down the stairs trying to come to some decision, something to do, where to turn. I must have paced and walked around downstairs trying to shake this thing off or come to a decision and I thought of a number and called it.
'Q. What was the number you thought of?
A. I thought that the number was that of Mr. Houk's.
'Q. Do you recall what you said to him over the phone?
A. No, I don't.
'Q. Where was the telephone?
A. There are two phones downstairs. I'm not positive which one I used.
'Q. And do you know how long it was, have you any recollection of the length of time between your telephone call and the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Houk?
A. It seemed like a long time, but it evidently was a relatively short time.
'Q. And do you know where you were or what you were doing between the time that you made the telephone call and the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Houk?
A. I was walking through the house again and trying to--trying to clear my mind, trying to remember what had happened, trying to remember a description of this individual that I had seen, trying to differentiate whether there were two people or one, in fact, almost thinking there were two, I shortly before the Houks came, stopped in the kitchen and put my head on the table and that is the first time I recall realizing or recognizing that I had a very severe pain in the neck. Up to that time I may have been holding my neck but I don't remember. And at that time I felt that my neck was injured.'