In 1954, Marilyn Reese Sheppard, wife of a well-to-do osteopath in Bay Village, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, was murdered in her bed. Her husband, Sam, was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966; ruling that Sheppard was denied a fair trial because the judge failed to control the courtroom and prevent jury bias resulting from excessive press coverage. Sam was retried and found innocent. In this account, by lawyer-journalist Cooper and the victim's son, it becomes clear that a combination of inept police work, the falsification and suppression of evidence, a hysterical press, the carnival atmosphere of the courtroom and a hanging judge brought about a shocking miscarriage of justice. The second half of the book summarizes speculations about the actual murderer, concentrating on one Richard Eberling, a window washer in the community, who was subsequently convicted of another slaying. But the question must be raised: how many people care about the Sheppard case now, at a remove of 40 years? Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/1995 Release date: 09/01/1995 Genre: Nonfiction
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