|July 3, 1954
the evening, Sam and Marilyn Sheppard host a dinner for the Aherns, a
neighborhood family. After dinner, the Sheppards and Aherns watch
the movie Strange Holiday on
television, with Marilyn sitting in Sam's lap. After a while, Sam
moves to a daybed in the room, where he falls asleep. The Aherns
say goodbye to Marilyn about midnight.
|July 4, 1954
between 3:00 and 4:45 a.m., Marilyn Sheppard is brutally murdered in
her bed. At 5:40 a.m., Sam Sheppard calls Spencer Houk, the mayor
of Bay Village, Ohio. He tells his friend Spencer to "get over
here quick! I think they've killed Marilyn!" By 6:02 a.m., the
first police officers arrive on the scence and discover the body, a
trail of blood, and evidence of an apparent robbery. At about
8:00 a.m., Coroner Sam Gerber arrives at the Sheppard home. He
immediately suspects Sam as the murderer and conducts a crime scene
investigation with that suspicion strongly in his mind. Sam
Sheppard, complaining of head and neck injuries from his struggle with
a "bushy-haired" intruder is taken to a hospital, where he is
interrogated in the afternoon.
|July 5, 1954
Sheppard murder makes frontpage headlines in all the Cleveland
papers. Lines of cars drive by the Sheppard home on the shore of
Lake Erie. Sheppard is interviewed again by police and examined
by a neurologist.
|July 7, 1954
services are conducted for Marilyn Sheppard.
|July 8, 1954
Sheppard, without his attorney Bill Corrigan being present, is
questioned in his hospital room by Cleveland detectives. He
continues to insist he is innocent.
|July 9, 1954
agrees to return to his home and re-enact his account of the events of
the early morning of July 4.... Editorials in Cleveland papers
complain that the investigation is going too slowly....Cleveland
detective Adelbert O'Hara interviews Richard Eberling, a 24-year-old
man who washed windows at the Sheppard home.
|July 10, 1954
voluntarily appears at sheriff's headquarters, where he is questioned
at length by detectives Robert Schottke and Patrick Gareau. He is
asked whether he ever had an affair with lab technician Susan
Hayes. Sheppard says that he and Hayes were nothing more than
|July 21, 1954
Cleveland Press, after a series of articles and editorials demanding
quick action in the Sheppard case, publishes an editorial with the
headline, "WHY NO INQUEST? DO IT NOW, DR. GERBER!" Later in
the day, Coroner Gerber announces that he is calling an inquest that
will begin the next day.
|July 22, 1954
Gerber opens a three-day inquest into the Sheppard murder. The
inquest is held in a Bay Village school gymnasium. The gymnasium
is packed in the afternoon when Sheppard testifies. Gerber bars
Sheppard's attorney, William Corrigan, from advising Sam on questions,
and Corrigan is forced to watch from the stands.
|July 23, 1954
inquest continues. Sheppard again denies having an affair with Susan
Hayes. Gerber orders Sheppard's attorney to be forcibly removed
from the gymnasium when he tries to get something into the
record. This same day, Cleveland police formally take over the
investigation from Bay Village police.
|July 24, 1954
by police in California, Susan Hayes admits to having an affair with
|July 30, 1954
Cleveland Press headlines a story, "WHY ISN'T SAM SHEPPARD IN
JAIL?" At 10:30 in the evening, Sheppard is arrested at the home
of his parents.
|July 31-August 2, 1954
is grilled for nine hours by two teams of detectives on July 31. Over
the next two days, he is questioned for thirteen more
hours. He still refuses to admit guilt.
|August 16, 1954
appears at a preliminary hearing. He is released on $50,000
bail. At the same time, a grand jury is meeting to consider the
case. Mayor Houk tells the grand jury that Marilyn called Sam "a
Jekyll and a Hyde." Other witnesses testify about the crime scene
investigation or Sheppard's womanizing.
|August 17, 1954
grand jury returns a first-degree murder indictment against Sheppard
and he is re-arrested.
|October 18, 1954
Sheppard trial opens in Cleveland before Judge Edward Blythin.
The trial is covered by such celebrity journalists as Walter Winchell
and Dorothy Kilgallen (a regular on the popular television quiz show,
"What's My Line?"). Jury selection begins.
|October 19, 1954
||Judge Blythin denies defense motions to move the trial out of Cleveland and delay the trial until publicity about the case dies down.|
|October 28, 1954
Sheppard jury is sworn in. The names and photos of jurors are
printed in newspapers.
|November 3, 1954
jury (along with Sheppard, handcuffed to a deputy) visits the Sheppard
home in Bay Village.
|November 4, 1954
John Mahon and defense attorney Frank Garmone give opening statements.
The prosecution calls its first witness.
|November 16, 1954
Sam Gerber is called as a prosecution witness in the Sheppard
trial. Gerber suggests that the bloody imprint found on Marilyn's
pillow was that of "a surgical instrument."
|December 2, 1954
defense begins its case in the Sheppard trial. Sam's
brother, Dr. Steve Sheppard, is called as the first defense
|December 9, 1954
Sheppard testifies. He describes his encounter on the night of
the murder with a man who had "a good-sized head--with a bushy
appearance at the top of his head."
|December 16, 1954||Prosecutors
and defense attorney Bill Corrigan present closing arguments.
|December 17, 1954
jury in the Sheppard trial begins its deliberations.
|December 21, 1954
jury returns a verdict: guilty of murder in the second degree.
Sam Sheppard tells the judge, "I'd like to say, sir, I am not
guilty...." Jurors report that their decision was influenced by
Sheppard's delay in reporting the crime, the apparent removal of blood
from the crime scene, the failure of Sheppard's dog to bark, and
Sheppard's extramarital affairs.
|January 7, 1955
Sheppard, Sam's mother, commits suicide. From jail, Sheppard
releases a statement: "Today my mother...took her life as a result of
|January 18, 1955
Richard Sheppard, Sam's father, dies of cancer.
|January 22, 1955
Paul Kirk, a nationally famous California criminalist, arrives in
Cleveland at Bill Corrigan's request to conduct for the defense a
thorough investigation of the crime scene.
Kirk finishes his 19-page report on the Sheppard murder. He
concludes that the murderer was left-handed and probably used a
flashlight. He finds evidence of blood in Marilyn's room that
neither belonged to Marilyn or Sam. He finds Sam Sheppard's
version of events plausible and concludes that the murderer probably
hated the Sheppards. Partly on the basis of Kirk's report,
Corrigan files a motion for a new trial.
|July 13, 1955
Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals affirms the denial of Sheppard's
motion for a new trial.
is transferred to a maximum security prison near Columbus....A swimmer
who lives next to the Sheppard home finds a dented flashlight in
shallow water in Lake Erie.
Ohio Supreme Court affirms Sheppard's conviction....Cleveland Press
publisher Louis Seltzer published his autobiography, The Years Were Good.
Eberling, a man who washed windows at the Sheppard home, is arrested
for larceny. A search of Eberling's home turns up, among many
other stolen items, a cocktail ring owned by Marilyn Sheppard.
Asked by police why is blood was found in the Sheppard home after the
murder (this was a stab in the dark; police had found no such
evidence), Eberling says he cut himself a few days before the murder
and dripped blood throughout the Sheppard house. He is given a
polygraph test, but the results are inconclusive.
defense lawyer, William Corrigan dies. The job of defending
Sheppard will eventually fall to F. Lee Bailey.
Sheppard Murder Case, by Chicago reporter Paul Holmes, is
published. The book argues that Sam Sheppard was not the murderer
Ohio Parole Board denies Sheppard's request for parole....Sheppard is
transferred to "the Hole" (a tiny cell with horrid conditions) for
insulting the Ohio director of prisons after the director kept referred
to Sheppard's new German girlfriend, Ariane Tebbenjohanns, as "that
|April 13, 1963
Lee Bailey files a petition for habeas corpus in federal
court. In the petition, Bailey argues, among other things,
that prejudicial publicity in the trial violated Sheppard's right to
Fugitive," a television show assumed by most people to be based loosely
on the Sheppard case (although the creator later suggests otherwise),
begins a successful run.
coroner Sam Gerber, in a letter to Ohio's Attorney General William
Saxbe, suggests that Governor Rhodes should pardon Sheppard.
a press club dinner, Dorothy Kilgallen reveals that before the Sheppard
trial, the trial judge (Edward Blythin, had told her that Sheppard "was
guilty as hell."
|July 15-16, 1964
Weinman tosses out Sheppard's conviction on constitutional grounds,
calling his trial "a mockery of justice." Sheppard is released
from prison on a $10,000 bond. Sam makes plans to marry Ariane
|October 8, 1964
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cleveland hears the state's appeal of
Judge Weinman's decision throwing out Sheppard's conviction.
|March 4, 1965
a 2 to 1 vote, the Sixth Circuit reverses Judge Weinman's decision
throwing out Sheppard's conviction, although Sheppard is allowed to
remain free on bail pending his appeal to the Supreme Court.
United Supreme Court agrees to hear the Sheppard case.
|February 28, 1966
arguments are heard by the Supreme Court. Bailey argues the case
for Sheppard, while the state is represented by Ohio Attorney General
|June 6, 1966
an 8 to 1 vote, the Supreme Court reverses Sheppard's murder conviction
on due process grounds. The Court pointed to "virulent publicity"
that might have affected the jury's verdict.
|June 8, 1966
announce that they will retry Sam Sheppard for the murder of his wife
|October 24, 1966
Sheppard's second trial begins.
|November 10, 1966
defense calls its first witness, a man who delivered bread to the
Sheppard home, as its first witness. (Sam Sheppard will not take
|November 16, 1966
jury finds Sam Sheppard "Not Guilty" in his re-trial.
|August 27, 1967
last episode of "The Fugitive" is watched by a record number of
Sheppard and Ariane Tebbenjohanns divorce.
Sheppard becomes a professional wrestler working under the name of
"Killer" Sheppard. He marries his third wife, Colleen Strickland.
|April 6, 1970
Sheppard dies of liver failure at the of 46.
coroner Sam Gerber dies.
Eberling, Sheppard's former window washer, is convicted of aggravated
murder in connection with the death of an elderly widow, Ethel May
releases police records and evidence relating to the murder of Marilyn
movie, The Fugitive (starring
Harrison Ford), is released, reviving interest in the Sheppard case.
||Mockery of Justice, by Cynthia
Cooper and Sam Reese Sheppard, is published. The book argues that
Sheppard was innocent and Richard Eberling was the actual murderer.
Reese Sheppard, Sam's son, files a wrongful imprisonment action.
A formal declaration of Sheppard's innocence is requested.
Eberling is ordered to provide a blood sample for DNA testing.
Reese Sheppard's civil suit on behalf of his father for wrongful
imprisonment is set for trial over the objections of attorneys for the
Sheppard's body is exhumed for DNA testing.
|July 25, 1998
Eberling dies in prison at the age of 68.
|December 2, 1998
||The Ohio Supreme Court denies a request by the Cuyahoga
County prosecutor to dismiss the wrongful imprisonment case.
Sheppard's body is exhumed for forensics testing.
an eight-week trial in Sam Reese Sheppard's wrongful imprisonment, a
jury in the civil suit finds in favor of Cuyahoga County's favor.
Neff's book on the Sheppard Case, The
Wrong Man, argues--despite the finding of the civil jury in Sam
Reese Sheppard's wrongful imprisonment suit--that Richard Eberling
killed Marilyn Sheppard.
new book by Jack DeSario and William Mason, Dr. Sam Sheppard on Trial,
primarily focused on the wrongful imprisonment suit, argues that the
1954 jury got it right: Sam Sheppard murdered his wife Marilyn.