In the early morning hours of July 4, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard was bludgeoned to death in her bed. 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 retrial in the decision Sheppard v. Maxwell. At the 1966 retrial, 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 are the basis of the collection.
The Sam Sheppard case materials were donated to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. The library has digitally scanned the entire collection and the electronic files are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room. Many of the physical documents are available for viewing as well. To schedule an appointment, call 216-523-7394. Please review our Reading Room Procedures and bring the completed registration form upon your visit.
The Sheppard Case Timeline highlights important dates in the Sheppard case and links to relevant collection materials. Who's Who in the Sheppard Cases is a summary of the individuals involved in the various Sheppard cases.
Warning and Disclaimer: This website contains graphic images such as autopsy and crime scene photos, which some may find disturbing. Any opinions expressed in the documents on this site are those of the authors of the documents, not of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law or Cleveland State University.
We would love to hear your feedback about the Sheppard site. Is there anything you particularly enjoyed and want to see more of? Is there anything you were expecting to see but did not? Please let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Users of the content in this collection must follow the collection's copyright guidelines:
Thank you for your interest in the Sam Sheppard Collection. Some of the documents and images in the collection may be copyrighted. Any person who wants to broadcast or make commercial use of the material has the responsibility to identify the copyright owner and obtain all necessary clearances.
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Reproductions are not to be used “for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a digital reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
Browse the The Sam Sheppard Case: 1954-2000 Collections:
- All Articles
- Articles cited in Sheppard v. Maxwell
- Sensational News Treatment of the Sam Sheppard Case
- 1995-2002 Court Filings
- 2000 Trial Expert Reports and Tests
- Sheppard 2000 Trial Defendant's Exhibits
- Sheppard 2000 Trial Plaintiff's Exhibits
- 1954-1955 Post-Trial Motions and Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeal
- 1955-1959 Ohio Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court Direct Appeal
- 1963-1966 Federal Habeas Corpus