The Sam Sheppard Trial 2000: The Sheppard Trial Testimony
Yolanda Perdomo- Since day one of this wrongful imprisonment trial, attorneys for the Sheppard family estate have attempted to show that someone else was responsible for the murder of Marilyn Sheppard in 1954. The Sheppard family suspects handyman Richard Eberling of the crime. He died in prison two years ago while serving time for the murder of Ethel Durkin. Yesterday, to wrap up their case, attorneys wanted to include the testimony of Sergeant Vince Kremperger, the Lakewood detective who investigated the murder of Ethyl Durkin. Attorney Terry Gilbert told Judge Ronald Suster it was important to include Kremperger's testimony because he could have talked about the similarities between the Durkin and Sheppard murders.
Terry Gilbert- We believe that both crimes were committed by someone who was not a stranger. And I think that we've been able establish that whoever killed Marilyn Sheppard was not a stranger in that home. We know who killed Ethyl Durkin, because Eberling was convicted of it by a jury. He was also not a stranger to this particular individual. What I'm getting at is there is a relationship. A non-spousal relationship in connection with Marilyn Sheppard. And Richard Eberling in connection with Ethyl Durkin
YP- Gilbert also tried to establish other similarities between the Durkin and Sheppard murders. He said both crimes were committed in a home environment, that Eberling had the trust of their employers and there was some sort of sexual component to the crimes...as well as his alleged habit of gossiping about them.
TG- He tells a 21 year-old nurse over a couple of scotches when he loosens up a little bit, about how he killed Marilyn Sheppard. And then, as Vince Krempiger will tell you, Beverly Shiveler, having dinner with Mr. Eberling at the Blue Fox restaurant in 1985 over some drinks, tells Belverly Shiveler that he admits to clobbering her, whacked her on the back of the head. So there it is.
YP- But assistant Cuyahoga county prosecutor Steve Dever yesterday dismissed those ideas. He said Eberling's relationship with each woman was very different.
Steve Dever- There's no position of trust.There is no friendship that exists.There's been no evidence to suggest that if Richard Eberling ever talked to Marilyn Sheppard other than to follow her commands to have the windows changed. They never had a cup of coffee together, they never socialized together. There's been no testimony to indicate that they were in the same circle of friends, or that there was some common nexus that existed between Eberling and Marilyn Sheppard.
YP- And apparently Judge Suster agreed with that argument, ruling Tuesday that the testimony of Sergeant Vince Kremperger will not be heard by jurors. But the judge will allow limited use of testimony from Beverly Shiveler. Sheppard lawyer Terry Gilbert said he wasn't terribly disappointed with the ruling, saying it's all part of the trial process.
TG- When you bring a case, you try to contemplate bringing in as much evidence as you can to support your case. Realizing that as the trial goes on, you may get limited in some way.
YP- Today, jurors will hear Sheppard attorneys close their case....and the state will present their first witness. Their side of the case is expected to last 5 to 6 weeks. Much of it will come in the form of transcript readings that are decades old. The first two people who will appear through the transcripts are Spencer and Esther Houk. They were the Sheppard's neighbors, and Sam Sheppard called Spencer when he found his dead wife in their bedroom. For INFOHIO, I'm Yolanda Perdomo in Cleveland.