The Sam Sheppard Case Collection: 1954-2000

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 just 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 documents collected and used by the prosecutor’s office in this trial, which includes materials from all three trials, are the basis of the collection.

The Sam Sheppard case materials were donated to the Cleveland State University College of Law Library by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. The digitized materials are available on CSU’s institutional repository Engaged Scholarship: The Sam Sheppard Case Collection