|The former Sheppard home on Lake Road in Bay Village |
On July 4, 1954 – 60 years ago this past week – Marilyn Sheppard was found brutally beaten to death in her Bay Village home. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, had been asleep downstairs at the time of the murder according to his story. The rest of his version of the aftermath of the murder – including his being knocked unconscious by a "bushy-haired intruder" – are well known to Northeast Ohioans, as well as much of the nation.
The sensationalized coverage of the crime by the Cleveland Press and that newspaper's call for the arrest and conviction of Dr. Sheppard is well-remembered. The aggressive coverage by the Press was part of the reason that Sheppard was granted a retrial in 1966, after he spent ten years in prison for his initial conviction of the murder. He was acquitted after the second trial.
Despite the media fatigue that greeted the anniversary of the murder, many people in the area will probably always have a fascination with the tragedy, since it took place nearby.
To refresh your memory, here are links to two interesting articles that appeared in the Plain Dealer recently about the 1954 murder. The first one is written by Brent Larkin, and the second is by the very first policeman to arrive at the scene of the gruesome murder.
And how did the murder play out in the Lorain Journal in the week after it occurred?
The Sheppard murder grabbed the headlines for the first few days. Here are the front pages of the newspaper for July 5th, 6th and 7th.
Here's the front page for July 8th (below). I was able to replace the two low quality microfilm images with the same two exact photographs, which I found online.
Here's the front page for July 9th. As you can see, it was the night of the Miss Vacationland contest (which I wrote about last week here).
The crowning of Darlene Ehrlich as the winner of the Miss Vacationland contest finally nudged the Sheppard murder case out of the top spot on the front page of July 10th.