Friday, April 6, 2012

Sam Sheppard

Dr. Samuel Holmes Sheppard (December 29, 1923(1923-12-29) – April 6, 1970(1970-04-06)) was an American physician and neurosurgeon, who was involved in an infamous and controversial murder trial. He was convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard, in 1954, while residing in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Sheppard served almost a decade in the Ohio Penitentiary before his conviction was overturned. In 1966, he was acquitted in a new trial. In the year 2000, Sheppard's son, Sam Reese Sheppard, who was seven at the time of his mother's murder, sued the State of Ohio for his father's alleged wrongful imprisonment. After a ten-week trial, a civil jury returned a unanimous verdict that Samuel Sheppard had failed to prove his father had been wrongfully imprisoned.
Just three days after his release, Sheppard married Ariane Tebbenjohanns, a German divorcee who had corresponded with him during his time in prison. The two had been engaged since January 1963. Tebbenjohanns endured her own bit of controversy shortly after the engagement had been announced, confirming that her half-sister was Magda Ritschel, the wife of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. However, Tebbenjohanns emphasized that she held no Nazi views. On October 7, 1969, Sheppard and Tebbenjohanns divorced.
After his acquittal, Sheppard helped write the book Endure and Conquer, which presented his side of the case and gave insight into his years in prison. He also returned briefly to medicine in Youngstown, Ohio, but was sued twice for medical malpractice by the estates of dead patients.
Later, Sheppard was briefly a professional wrestler, going by the ring name The Killer, and teaming with partner George Strickland in matches across the United States. In Mick Foley's book, Foley recounts Jim Cornette's telling him about Sheppard inventing the mandible claw, a submission hold Foley later made famous.
Just six months before his death, Sheppard married Colleen Strickland. He had become an alcoholic and died of liver failure on April 6, 1970. By the end of his life, Sheppard was reportedly prone to drinking "as much as two fifths of liquor a day." He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.
His body remained there until 1997, when he was exhumed for DNA testing as part of the lawsuit brought by his son to clear his name. After the tests, the body was cremated, and the ashes inurned in a mausoleum at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, with those of his late wife, Marilyn.

“We cam home from John’s this morning and I drew manure rest of the day.  Got out nine loads.  Pleasant day.”

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