THE SHEPPARD MURDER CASE by Paul Holmes

THE SHEPPARD MURDER CASE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Chicago Tribune reporter who covered the trial of Samuel H. Sheppard, the handsome, wealthy, young Cleveland osteopath, accused and convicted of killing his pregnant wife Marilyn, is again reviewed in considerable detail and with great doubt as to the justice of the verdict. Holmes makes it clear from the beginning that Sheppard was a marked man in an overpublicized trial influenced by popular opinion, as well as the victim of his wealth, the general prejudice against osteopathy, poor press relations, and his marital delinquency (he had had other women and in particular a Miss X). While the crime itself, and the rerun of the trial testimony, is not too interesting, certain facts are: the capability of the dynamic prosecutor. Gerber and his suggestion (altogether unproved) that the murder weapon was a surgical instrument; the lack of any real evidence; the imputation that Sam's injuries (a fractured vertebra) were trivial and self-inflicted. More challenging and more decisive are the revelations that followed the sentence: a leading criminologist's report- not with too little but too late that there had been a third person- and the confession (pursued by Erie Stanley Gardner and his Court of Last Resort) of a convict, claiming to have been the intruder. In any case those who follow true crime (and scandal) will find the annals open to speculation the presentation partisan but persuasive.

Pub Date: July 24th, 1961
Publisher: McKay