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Archive for September 26th, 2022

Dark Side of the Land Podcast: 1954 Murder of Marilyn Sheppard

In the early morning hours of July 4, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard was bludgeoned to death in her bed in a Cleveland suburb. Her husband Sam, a prominent Bay Village doctor, maintained that Marilyn was murdered by a bushy-haired intruder. He stood trial and was convicted for his wife’s murder amidst a media storm. The media frenzy so tainted the case that the United States Supreme Court released him and ordered a 1966 retrial in the case Sheppard v. Maxwell, at which Sheppard was acquitted. He died a few years later.

In 1999, Sam and Marilyn’s son Sam Reese Sheppard unsuccessfully sued the state of Ohio for the wrongful imprisonment of his father. The Sam Sheppard case materials, spanning all three trials, were donated to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. The digitized materials are available here.

WOIO Channel 19 News anchor Nichole Vrsansky—whose grandfather was the first Cleveland detective at the murder scene—recently visited the law library to see the collection and interview dean Lee Fisher for an episode of the network’s true crime podcast Dark Side of the Land. The episode is approximately 30 minutes in length and is titled The Husband or the Handyman: Who Killed Marilyn Sheppard? The TV spot is at the top of the page and the podcast is below (the latter is also available on all major podcast platforms).