Prior to Marilyn’s murder, Bay Village was known for being a quiet and upper-class city (via JT Townsend). The lurid details of the crime scene understandably shocked neighbors as well as the Sheppards’ friends and loved ones. According to Famous Trials, Marilyn was found lying on her bed with her face looking toward the door. The scene was vicious and ghastly; the sheets were seeping with blood. Marilyn’s shirt was pulled up, revealing her chest. Her genitals were also exposed. Marilyn’s face and head were mutilated by various deep wounds. An autopsy later found that she died from 35 strikes to the head with an unidentified object.
Moreover, Marilyn had fought her attacker, and two of her teeth had been knocked out in the scuffle. Tragically, the autopsy also revealed that she was four months pregnant. NFL player and neighbor Otto Graham encountered the scene and later said, “Oh my God. It looks like someone stood in the middle of the room with a great big can of red paint and a brush and flicked it all around. This wasn’t a couple of blows. Oh, no. Whoever did it, they had to be out of their mind” (per Famous Trials).
PBS writes that Sam’s murder trial began in late October, 1954. Per Fox 8, the prosecution stated that his guilt was obvious. It was disclosed that Sam had been having an affair with a former hospital employee, Susan Hayes, establishing a motive. Although the murder weapon was never found, the coroner said it had to be a surgical tool.
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