Undated File Photo: Dr. Sam Sheppard, Whose Story Inspired The Popular Television Series And Movie 'The Fugitive,' Is Seen In This Undated File Photo. Proceedings Begin January 31, 2000 In The Wrongful Imprisonment Suit Against The State Of Ohio Filed By Sheppard's Son, Samuel Reese Sheppard, Jr. (Photo By Getty Images)
My comments are Bold and Italicized throughout the statement below. Interesting things said by the doctor are in RED.
Interview at Sheriff's Office on July 10, 1954 (11:40 A.M.)
County of Cuyahoga
Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard, you are now being questioned and may be charged with the crime of Murder at a later date. The law gives you the right to make a statement if you so desire. Anything that you may say here may be used either for or against you at the time that you are brought to trial in court. Now that you understand these facts, do you wish to make a statement telling us the truth about the facts that caused your questioning at this time?
Q: Has any drug or medicine been administered to you within the past twelve hours?
A: Just about twelve hours ago I did have a grain and a half of seconal which is a short acting barbiturate and should have no effect on me at this time.
Q: Is there any doubt in your mind but what you can sit here and give us a true statement of what you know that occurred in your house on the night of July 3rd, 1954? At 28924 Lake Road, City of Bay V1l1age, Ohio?
A: I feel that at this time I can tell all that I know.
He does not answer the question with a simple Yes, instead uses the hedge words of 'at this time' and 'all that I know.' When words like this are used he is giving himself wiggle room in his mind and is saying I'm going to give you the information I want to at this time, but I might not be telling you the entire story.
A: After having a difficult morning and early afternoon at Day View Hospital where I am in charge of the accident room and the head of the Department of Neurosurgery, I made a couple of visits and then proceeded home.
'I made a couple of visits' -knowing more about the visits is an important part of the investigation. As you will learn later on in the statement, the doctor had had affairs. Years later another individual was implicated in her murder; if the doctor worked together with this person it could very well be that they met during this time. We will never know based on the information available on the Internet about this case."
I arrived home at a time later than five o'clock, realizing this because I had hoped to work in the yard with my family and found that it was too late to do so. My wife informed me that we correction - that she had planned to get together with Mr. & Mrs. Ahern that evening. We were to go to their home for a drink before dinner and then return to our home for dinner. We realized that there were a couple of business matters involving vouchers that we should record and we did this before leaving the house. We compared notes and my wife recorded the material on the Sheppard Clinic vouchers. We soon thereafter went down to the Ahern's and drove our larger car as I recall. The Ahern's were both working in the yard with their children and we instructed them not to stop but to continue with their work as we chatted. My son was playing with youngsters in the yard. Mrs. Ahern insisted on going inside shortly thereafter and Mr. Ahern instructed his young son how to continue the lawn mowing with their power mower. We shortly went into their kitchen and some type of mixed drinks were prepared. I am not absolutely clear in regard to the exact nature of this drink since we often have done this in the past and I could confuse one incident with another. Shortly thereafter, or after being there for a short time, I received a telephone call from the hospital in regard to a youngster that had broken his femur which is the thigh bone. I had received this call as a result of reporting their number to the hospital in regard to my whereabouts.
It is slightly odd to not tell the story in the order that it happened, especially for a smart man. The Doctor should have stated he had called the hospital when he actually did it, not after the fact. Why did he feel the need to explain why he got a phone call at their house? This would be worthy of a simply question if you were the interviewer, "when exactly did you call the hospital?"
The type of fracture was described to me and I decided that I had best go to the hospital and evaluate the situation. I asked Mrs. Ahern to find me a clove so that I could put this in my mouth and overcome any slight odor. I got into the car and proceeded to the hospital where I examined the youngster and the X-rays that had been taken. This youngster, as I recall, was visiting here and lives in an area near Youngstown. I believe it was the father with the youngster but I am not absolutely sure.
I hope the police followed up on his visit to the hospital and this patient. There is a great deal of fuzzy language in this statement. At this point there are several interesting statements explaining absences.
I explained that the youngster should be treated in the hospital and we hoped could soon be transported to the Youngstown hospital which I attend in the capacity of neuro-surgeon and traumatic surgeon. I then got in my car and returned toward my home, passing it since I did not see signs of the Ahern's, my wife and the children. So I returned to the Ahern’s home. Mrs. Sheppard shortly left to start the dinner. I and the Ahern's followed soon thereafter. I believe the children went with us but they may have run over by themselves. I really don't know. At our home Mr. Ahern and I chatted and the children played while the girls prepared dinner. The youngsters somehow evinced interest in my punching bag in the basement so I took them downstairs and placed a bushel basket under it so that they might reach the bag in order to hit it. I spent a moment or two with them showing them how it should be properly struck. I recall now that the children were fed in the kitchen before we ate. Shortly thereafter we four adults had dinner on the porch. It was quite breezy, the wind coming from the north generally, it may have been northeast or northwest but since the porch was cool, sweaters and jackets were in order and I put on my brown corduroy jacket. The others I am not sure of what they wore. I remember that my wife had baked pie which is my favorite dessert. The other types of food I can't truly remember.
Having lived on lake Erie myself, knowing the wind is from the north is significant. The lake is shallow for a great lake and the wind direction can drastically change water levels- as much as a 3 feet of difference from one end of the lake to another. This has significance later on in the statement.
After we had completed a leisurely dinner, Mrs. Ahern made some mention of a movie but we recognized that it was too late to attend a movie so we kiddingly suggested the television movie. The girls must have cleaned up the dishes while Mr. Ahern and I went into the front room. I am not clear on anything from dinner to the time we watched television together, but the dishes were cleared up. I think Mr. Ahem took his children home am put them to bed and my youngster must have been put to bed by my wife but I don't remember. Mrs. Ahern, my wife and I started to watch the television movie or program. I think it was a movie and as I recall now, Mr. Ahern sat over in the northwest corner of the room, that's the side toward the Lake, with a small radio turned on just loud enough for him to hear it and listen to a ball game which was in progress.
It is odd to say that 'we kiddingly suggested the television movie,' and then end up watching a television movie. It is the same as saying we kiddingly suggested going to McDonalds for our anniversary, then stating later that that is where you went.
The three of us watched the movie and Mr. Ahern reported the progress of the game a couple of times. He then either turned the game off or it had terminated and he came over to sit and watch television with us. My wife and I were sitting quite close in one chair and that is the last time I recall her in a relatively normal state, clearly. Mrs. Ahern seemed to be stimulated by our apparent affection and she sat on Mr. Ahern's lap for a short while.
Some time within the next few minutes, my wife moved to the chair I next to me because the cramped position as a result of the two of us in the chair, she said strained her back. Mrs. Ahern also moved either before or after that. We chatted as the program progressed and I became tired, relatively drowsy. I moved to the couch in the living room, situated on the west wall of the staircase and the east wall of the L portion of the living room which protrudes to the road. I lay down with my head toward the television in a prone position, holding my head and watching television. The television is on the north side of the room. My head was nearer the television set than my feet. It was toward the television set. There may have been a pilled helping to hold my head. I evidently because very drowsy and fell asleep. I recall wearing summer cord trousers, a white T shirt moccasin type loafers with no shoe strings, I am not sure of' the socks. I don't know whether I had removed my brown corduroy coat that I had put on earlier, or whether I did at this time or not. The next thing that I recall very hazily, my wife partially awoke me in some manner and I think she notified me that she was going to bed.
At this point I mark the statement as everything happening up to this point is events before the incident. When analyzing statements it is important to know this information because 25% of the statement should be events leading to the incident.
One thing to note, up to this point I have not marked all the words that I normally would (which I have done in a Word document) because there are so many fuzzy and unclear recollections that it would have confused those who are unfamiliar with statement analysis.
It is interesting to note how there is clear detail concerning them watching television, but so much unclear information concerning other events leading up to that point.
I eventually continued to sleep. The next thing I recall was hearing her cry out or scream. At this time I was on the couch. I think that she cried or screamed my name once or twice, during which time I ran upstairs, thinking that she might be having a reaction similar to convulsions that she had had in the early days of her pregnancy. I charged into our room and saw a form with a light garment, I believe.
In the previous paragraph he states 'my wife partially awoke me,' and then he states he 'eventually continued to sleep' which logically is an untruth- he was either woken up by her or partially awaken- this unclear language is an area of concern.
He recalls hearing her cry out or scream. During the rest of the paragraph he begins using fuzzy language. Fuzzy language is an indication of making up a story.
Also, many first statements out of eventual confessors start out, "I heard the gun, then looked down and saw him bleeding" while truthful... the part omitted from the statement is "I pulled the trigger, heard the gun, then looked down and saw him bleeding"- even the murderer will hear the gun...
It is interesting that he does not remember if she cried out or screamed- most would remember their perception of what they heard when something like that occurred.
CRY is also a strange choice of words. If you are trying to signal for help you literally do not cry. A more appropriate action performed by his wife would be she "screamed out?"
Anyone in the room when she was being beaten- which lead to her murder- would hear screams, calling out of the person's name who was assaulting her if this person is known to her, and crying.
'...saw a form with a light garment, I believe.' is an important part of the investigation. It is important to know where the light was coming from, because in the next paragraph he allows himself to be struck from behind- also there was a lamp missing from the room, if we could ask him it would be important to attempt to place the lamp in the room before he is eventually knocked unconscious or was the form lit from the hallway. It is thought that the lamp was used to beat her.
At the same time grappling with something or someone. During this short period I could hear loud moans or groaning sounds and noises. I was struck down. It seems like I was hit from behind somehow but had I grappled this individual from in front or generally in front of me. I was apparently knocked out. The next thing I know I was gathering my senses while coming to a sitting position next to the bed, my feet toward the hallway.
Someone would know if they were 'grappling with an inanimate object or a person.
In the previous paragraph he says 'a form' and below he switched back and forth again- even using the more personal 'he' pronoun. 'Something or someone' is odd in a statement- someone who fought with another would not say 'something.'
Then he says, 'During this short period I could hear loud moans or groaning sounds and noises'- once again logically this is not adding completely up. If someone is struggling with another for a short time would you be able to hear both loud moans or groaning sounds- groaning sounds are generally not "short" and not as loud as moans.
The way he describes his wife's sounds is how she would sound had she been badly beaten and would more likely be noticed in a longer period of time.
He is also not clear if it is his wife or someone that he is struggling with is making the noise- while we can assume that it is his wife, why does he not state that- by not clearly stating this is distancing language.
It is unclear where he is being attacked from, he clearly stated the position he watched television in, but here it is not adding up- he is entering the room so we would assume he would be heading towards the 'form' but at some point turns or twists and allows himself to be hit from the back?!?!
'...apparently knocked out' is troubling. You either are knocked out or not, if you did not see the person leave, you were knocked out. If he is lying, why would he not just say he struggled and he got away as he gave chase to the attacker- Because if he is lying he is attempting to account for time passing. Remember when people are giving false statements they are having to juggle the truth (and what they don't want to tell us) and the made up story. It is hard to do this completely, especially if you are 'speeding up' or 'slowing down' time.
To Be Continued...◦