Who’s Who in the Sheppard Cases

Marilyn Sheppard: In the early morning of July 4, 1954, Marilyn was brutally murdered in her Bay Village home. She was four months pregnant at the time of her death.

Sam Sheppard: Sam, Bay View Hospital Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon, stated that he woke in the middle of the night to Marilyn screaming. He claimed that he fought a bushy-haired intruder and was twice knocked unconscious before the killer(s) escaped. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1954 but was acquitted in a 1966 retrial.

Samuel Reese (Chip) Sheppard: Marilyn and Sam’s son who was sleeping in the house the night of the murder but did not wake up or recall any details from that night. Chip was 7 years old when his mother was murdered.

Koko: The Sheppard family dog, who was not heard barking or making any noise the night of the murder.

Dr. Richard A. Sheppard: Sam’s father, Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon, founder of Bay View Hospital. Richard fell gravely ill on December 20, 1954, just one day before Sam was convicted, and died on January 18, 1955.

Ethel Sheppard: Sam’s mother and wife of Dr. Richard A. Sheppard. Ethel committed suicide on January 7, 1955, leaving this note: ‘Dear Steve, I just can’t manage alone without Father… Mother.’

Dr. Richard N. Sheppard: Sam’s brother, Bay View Hospital Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon.

Dorothy Sheppard: Wife of Dr. Richard N. Sheppard

Dr. Stephen A. Sheppard: Sam’s brother, Bay View Hospital Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon.

Betty Sheppard: Wife of Dr. Stephen A. Sheppard. Stephen and Betty cared for Chip after Sam’s conviction.

Thomas S. Reese: Marilyn’s father, DiNoc Chemical Arts Vice-President, and Marilyn’s stepmother, Jane Reese, planned to entertain Sam, Marilyn, and Chip on their boat on July 4, 1954. Thomas committed suicide February 13, 1963.

Jane Reese:: Jane, Marilyn’s stepmother, testified in the 2000 civil trial. She believed Sam killed Marilyn.

J. Spencer Houk: Mayor of Bay Village. Sam called him at 5:45am on July 4 and said “For God’s sake, Spen, get over here quick. I think they’ve killed Marilyn.” Houk and his wife were first on the scene after Marilyn’s murder.

Esther Houk: Wife of J. Spencer Houk. F. Lee Bailey, Sam’s lawyer in the 1966 retrial, suggested that the Houks killed Marilyn because Spencer was having an affair with her.

Lawrence Houk: Son of Spencer and Esther Houk. Larry, along with other teenage neighbors, assisted police in the search for evidence.

Don and Nancy Ahern: Neighbors of the Sheppards, the Aherns visited them on the evening of July 3. They left the Sheppard home shortly after midnight with Sam asleep on the daybed and the back door locked.

Karl and Helen Schuele: Next-door neighbors of the Sheppards, the Schueles did not see or hear anything unusual the night of Marilyn’s murder. They reported that Koko was a poor watchdog that cowed easily.

Susan Hayes: A former Bay View Hospital Medical Technologist who was Sam’s mistress. Sam initially denied this relationship but later admitted to it. Several people testified that Marilyn knew that Sam visited Hayes in California and bought her gifts.

Bushy-haired man: Sam stated that he fought a bushy-haired man in his home the night Marilyn was killed. Some witnesses claimed to have seen a bushy-haired man around the Sheppard home the night of Marilyn’s murder.

Richard Eberling: A handyman / window washer who worked for the Sheppards. Eberling was dismissed as a suspect in Marilyn’s murder after questioning and a polygraph test. In the 2000 civil trial, the Sheppard Estate suggested that Eberling killed Marilyn.

Samuel R. Gerber: The Cuyahoga County Coroner arrived at 7:50am the morning of the murder. Gerber was heavily involved in the investigation and fervently believed Sam was guilty.

Mary Cowan: Ran the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Trace Evidence Department and performed testing on the fibers and blood found throughout the Sheppard home.

Lester Adelson: Cuyahoga County Deputy Coroner who performed the autopsy on Marilyn around 12:30pm the day of the murder.

Ray Keefe: Worked for the Cuyahoga County Coroner and arrived at the Sheppard home with Coroner Gerber on July 4.

Eileen Huge (Bennett): Worked as an X-ray technician at Bay View Hospital. She was called in to Bay View to take X-rays of Sam on July 4.

Gervase Flick: Worked as an osteopathic physician at Bay View Hospital. He examined Sam’s X-rays and determined that one view showed a small chip fracture in the neck (second cervical vertebra), but a different view showed no such fracture.

Richard Hexter: Worked as a general practitioner at Bay View Hospital. He examined Sam on July 4 and concluded that Sam looked sick, had a black eye, and had an edema on his cheek and forehead. He said he could not tell if Sam was in genuine pain. Dr. Stephen Sheppard was present for this examination.

Richard A. Lease: Worked as a hospital administrator at Bay View Hospital.

Donna Bailey: Former receptionist for the Sheppard Clinic in Fairview. She had seen love letters written between Susan Hayes and Sam. She stated that Marilyn shared details with her about the Sheppards’ marital strife.

Dr. John Frank Novatney: Marilyn’s dentist; she had been his patient for about 10 years. He testified that Marilyn had extensive dental work, which left her teeth more vulnerable to breaking. It is thought that she may have bitten her attacker.

Dr. Richard E. Koch: Sam’s dentist; he had been his patient for about two years. Koch examined Sam on July 15, 1954 and found that he had two loose and chipped teeth along with a mouth laceration that matched the area on his cheek with the edema.

Charles Elkins: Neurosurgeon called to examine Sam on July 4 at Bay View Hospital. He found Sam alert and ‘not in a serious situation.’ Elkins reported Sam to have right-eye swelling, a headache, and a possible cerebral concussion. He examined Sam closer on July 6 and determined that he had a bruised spinal cord in the neck region (C2).

Richard Sommer and Ronald L. Callahan: Bay Village Firemen who drove the ambulance to the Sheppard home on July 4; they were among the very first responders on the scene. The men walked the beach but did not notice anything of significance.

Alfred C. Kreke: Minister at the Bay Village church the Sheppards attended. He stated that the Sheppards had a good relationship. On June 17, 1954, Sam and Marilyn happily announced to Kreke that Marilyn was expecting their second child.

Richard and Betty Knitter: Couple who stated they had seen a bushy-haired man in the vicinity of the Sheppard home while traveling on Lake Road during the early morning of July 4.

Leo Stawicki: Man who was traveling home from a fishing trip during the early morning of July 4. He passed through Bay Village on Lake Road around 2:15-2:30am, where he stated he saw a bushy-haired man near a tree by the Sheppard home.

Thomas E. Uhle: Sam’s insurance agent who reported that everything seemed fine with the Sheppards. Sam had not made any changes to his insurance policies since 1951.

Bill Halenkamp:18-year-old senior at Bay High School who was near the Sheppard home shortly after Marilyn was murdered. He was recruited by police, with about 10 other teenage boys, to help search the lake and Sheppard property. He found sunglasses and a handkerchief

Joseph M. Sweeney: Cuyahoga County Sheriff; he took the jury to view the Sheppard home.

Carl Rossbach: Cuyahoga County Deputy Sheriff who arrived at the Sheppard home at 10:20 the morning of the murder.

David Yettra: Cuyahoga County Deputy Sheriff.

Harvey G. Weitzel: Cuyahoga County Deputy Sheriff.

Fred F. Drenkhan: The Bay Village Police Patrolman was the first officer on the scene having received a phone call from Mayor Houk. He was also the first to interview Sam. He testified that Sam said “he heard Marilyn scream, that he remembered fighting on the stairs, that he was in the water, and then that he came upstairs.”

Jay H. Hubach: Bay Village Police Sergeant extensively investigated the Sheppard house and grounds with Patrolman Drenkhan on the morning of the murder.

John P. Eaton: The Bay Village Chief of Police was summoned to the Sheppard home at about 6am on July 4. He called Coroner Gerber and the Cleveland Police in for assistance.

Howard Smith: Bay Village Police

G.H. Deutschlander: Bay Village Police

Cyril M. Lipaj: Bay Village Police.

Robert F. Schottke and Patrick Gareau: Cleveland Police Homicide Detectives who were called to the Sheppard home at about 9am on July 4. They collected Sam’s first formal statement at Bay View Hospital around 10:30am.

Frank W. Story: Cleveland Chief of Police.

David E. Kerr: Cleveland Police Homicide Captain who was called home from his vacation in Florida when the City took over the Sheppard murder investigation.

James McArthur: Cleveland Police Investigator Inspector.

Harold O. Lockwood: Cleveland Police Sergeant.

Harold E. Boyett: Cleveland Police Detective.

Jerome Poelking: Cleveland Police Detective in the Scientific Identification Unit.

Michael S. Grabowski: Cleveland Police Detective working in the Fingerprint Unit at the time of the murder.

Pete J. Becker: Cleveland Police Detective.

Henry E. Dombrowski: Cleveland Police Detective in the Scientific Identification Unit.

Richard B. Adler: Lakewood Police Patrolman; Adler sketched the image of the bushy-haired man.

Edward Blythin: Judge at the 1954 trial.

William J. Corrigan, Arthur E. Petersilge, and Fred W. Garmone: Defense attorneys at the 1954 trial. Sam was criticized in the newspapers for securing counsel shortly after the murder.

John J. Mahon, Saul S. Danaceau, Thomas J. Parrino: Cuyahoga County Prosecutors at the 1954 trial.

Louis Seltzer: Editor of the Cleveland Press, criticized for prejudicial editorials/articles about Sam and the Sheppard family.

Ariane Tebbenjohanns Sheppard: Sam’s second wife, who communicated with him for years while he was in prison before they met.

Colleen Strickland Sheppard: Sam’s third wife, who was the 20-year-old daughter of his wrestling manager.

Thomas R. Weigle: Marilyn’s first cousin; he said he had witnessed Sam’s violent temper

Dr. Keith Weigle: Marilyn’s cousin; accused as a possible suspect in the murder by both Stephen and Sam; was given a polygraph examination.

Helen Weigle: Marilyn’s aunt; Sam wrote to her from prison asking that she consider his side of the story.

Worth Munn: Marilyn’s uncle through marriage; he saw Sam briefly in the hospital after the murder.

Henrietta Munn: Marilyn’s aunt

Mary Brown: Marilyn’s maternal aunt; she regularly spent time with the Sheppards and often house-sat and babysat for them.

Gretchen Schuele: Karl and Helen Schuele’s daughter; she stated that she didn’t notice anything unusual or see any lights on at the Sheppard residence next door when she arrived home around 2am the day of the murder.

Alice Reese: North Olmsted resident whose young son died after being hit by a truck on July 3, 1954; Sam treated the boy at Bay View Hospital before he died.

Louis Winner: Confessed to killing Marilyn but quickly withdrew his confession upon questioning by police.

Arthur Beaird: Was questioned by BVPD Chief John Eaton and Mayor Houk while fishing with his brother-in-law on a Huntington Beach pier near the Sheppard residence the morning Marilyn was murdered.

John Tronti: Was fishing on a Huntington Beach pier near the Sheppard residence late the night before Marilyn was murdered and was approached by three young men looking for a beach party.

Earl Johnston: An assistant custodian employed by the Cuyahoga County Coroner, Johnston removed the clothing and jewelry from Marilyn when she arrived.

Elnora Helms: Worked as a housekeeper for Sam and Marilyn for 2.5 years; testified that some of the blood drops in the house may have come from the dog Koko being in heat.

Jerry Schumacher: One of the young men who spoke to Tronti at Huntington Beach.

Paul L. Teare: Bell Telephone worker who testified about phone records.

Kenneth H. Benjamin: Met Marilyn in junior high and spoke with her a week or two before the murder.

Robert J. Mickey: Landscaper who had done work for other Sheppard family members and had discussed landscaping plans with Marilyn in June 1954.

John F. Curry: Attorney and member of the Board of County Commissioners who helped draw up a reward agreement for the capture of Marilyn’s murderer.

Jessie Dill: Woman who said that she spoke extensively with Marilyn after meeting her at the beach a few weeks before the murder. She claimed that Marilyn said she was thinking of getting a divorce due to Sam’s numerous infidelities and that she herself had been involved with another man for several months. She did not know until seeing the story of the murder in the papers that the woman was Marilyn.

Lester Hoversten: Sam's close friend from medical school who was staying with the Sheppards around the time of the murder. He was on an overnight golfing trip in Kent the morning the murder occurred.

Doris Bender: Bay Village resident; stated she was a passenger in a car going past the Sheppard home around 2:15 the morning of the murder and noticed lights on in the house.

Horace M. Don: Former Bay View Hospital doctor who remained a friend of Sam.

Miles D. Davis: Bay Village resident who encountered an intruder in his house September 13, 1954.

Mr. and Mrs. Elmo W. Howell: Acquaintances of Sam for about two years through the Cleveland Sports Car Club. Mr. Howell testified that Sam was ‘even-tempered’; Mrs. Howell described Sam as an ‘extremely steady person.’

Lavelle Miller: Social acquaintance of Marilyn; stated that the Sheppards ‘always seemed very happy’

Seymour L. Rosen: Knew the Sheppards from school; said that Sam was ‘one of the finest fellows [he has] ever known.’

Lawrence G. Carmen: Bay Village resident who reported being burglarized July 7, 1954.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Paine: Lived directly across the street from the Sheppards; the families spent a good deal of time together. Mrs. Paine described Sam as a ‘very devoted husband,’ and Mr. Paine said that Sam was ‘the grandest fellow that ever lived.’

Charles W. Bryson: Next-door neighbor of the Sheppards; did not notice anything unusual around the time Marilyn was murdered.

Sara Mae Loomis: Neighbor of the Sheppards who taught at the local elementary school and had Chip in her class. She did not know the Sheppards personally.

Christine Bruscino: Neighbor of Sheppards who had been to several parties at the Sheppard home but was not close to them personally. Her son Tony claimed to be a good friend of Sam.

Ethel Durkin: Died after being pushed down the stairs by Richard Eberling November 15, 1983. Eberling and his partner Obie Henderson changed Durkin’s will, listing Eberling as the beneficiary.

Myrtle Fray: Durkin's sister; found beaten to death in her bed May 20, 1962. Numerous similarities to Marilyn’s murder.

Sarah Belle Farrow: Durkin's sister; received critical injuries in a fall down the basement steps at Durkin’s house, where she was living at the time.

Ruth McNeil: Lakewood widow found beaten to death in her home October 4, 1981.

Paul L. Kirk: Professor of criminalistics and defense expert who investigated the crime scene and wrote an extensive bloodstain pattern analysis report. He deduced that the murderer was left-handed and therefore could not be Sam. His blood spatter evidence was key in Sam’s acquittal following the 1966 retrial.

F. Lee Bailey: The lead defense attorney in the 1966 retrial that resulted in Sam’s acquittal.

Francis J. Talty: Judge for 1966 trial.

John T. Corrigan: Prosecutor for 1966 trial.

Leo Spellacy: Assistant County Prosecutor for 1966 trial.

Russell Sherman: Defense Attorney.

Charles M. Burnim: Defense Attorney.