NOVA Online (click here for NOVA home)
Killer's Trail
Site Map

Tag A week after the killing, a Cuyahoga County official filled out this evidence tag.
Chronology of a Murder
Part 2 | Back to Part 1

July 10, 1954
Sheppard voluntarily gives a formal statement, taken at the Cuyahoga County Sherrif's Office, with several officers in attendance.

July 20, 1954
Front-page editorial: "Someone Is Getting Away with Murder"—part of the unabated editorial attack calling for Dr. Sheppard's arrest and conviction.

July 21, 1954
Front-page editorial: "Why No Inquest? Do It Now, Dr. Gerber."

Dr. Gerber calls inquest.

July 22, 1954
Beginning of three-day inquest staged in local school gymnasium to accommodate large crowds, reporters, live television and radio crews; Dr. Sheppard searched in full view of crowd; Dr. Sheppard's lawyer is not permitted to participate and is ejected altogether when he tries to introduce evidence.

Crime scene In the years since the murder, Ohioan police officers who collected evidence at the crime scene have repeatedly come under attack for purportedly shoddy work.

July 23, 1954
Cleveland police formally takes over the investigation of the murder from Bay Village police and, for the first time, sends out its scientific investigation unit.

July 26, 1954
Headline: Police Captain "Urges Sheppard's Arrest."

July 28, 1954
Editorial: "Why Don't Police Quiz Top Suspect?"

July 29, 1954
Vern Lund joins service, reports to basic training in Florida.

Sheppard in neck brace Dr. Sam Sheppard shortly after the murder. Notice his neck brace and swollen right eye—consequences, he told police, of his battle with his wife's bushy-haired killer.
July 30, 1954
Front-page editorial: "Why Isn't Sam Sheppard in Jail?"

10 p.m.
Dr. Sheppard arrested and taken to suburban city hall, where hundreds of newscasters, photographers, and reporters await his arrival.

August 1954
Massive press coverage, including cartoons, editorials, rumor, innuendo.

August 16, 1954
Judge finds no evidence and releases Dr. Sheppard on bail.

August 17, 1954
Dr. Sheppard indicted for murder. Grand jury foreman Bert Winston complains that members of the grand jury were under enormous pressure. Dr. Sheppard is rearrested—his last day of freedom for nearly ten years.

Continue: October 9, 1954

Chronology of a Murder | Science in the Courtroom
Create a DNA Fingerprint | 3-D Mug Shot | Cleared by DNA
Resources | Transcript | Site Map

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000