Talk:Sam Sheppard

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Exonerated?[edit]

The article states that Sheppard was exonerated after 12 years. Is this referring to his acquittal, or was there an action that declared him innocent? He was acquitted (found not guilty) at his 1966 trial, but that is not being exonerated (declared innocent).165.189.169.138 (talk) 13:16, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

No, you're right and I agree with your edits ([1]; [2]). Sam Jr Sheppard's estate brought a civil case seeking a declaration of innocence and lost (see "Efforts to clear Sheppard's name"); and there was no declaration that it was a "miscarriage of justice"; Wikipedia's labeling of it that way is decidedly contrary to WP:NPOV. TJRC (talk) 19:06, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

The infobox definitely shouldn't list Sheppard's wife as a victim. Innocence isn't sufficient to prove wrongful imprisonment, so the civil case wouldn't be relevant even if the decision had been upheld. Because the Eighth District Court of Appeals vacated the lower court decision for want of standing, it's as if the civil case never happened. The info box should reflect Sheppard's acquittal in 1966. G. C. Hood (talk) 19:43, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree with G. C. Hood. Krakatoa (talk) 20:37, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I also agree with G.C. Hood. Unforgettable fan (talk) 21:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
I mostly agree with G. C. Hood. The root of the problem is that the article used {{infobox criminal}}, which is "generally reserved for convicted... notorious criminals." As G. C. Hood correctly points out, Sheppard's conviction was overturned, and he was then acquitted. I see that Collect has recently removed the infobox criminal template, which is a good thing.
I'm going to suggest, however, that there might be a basis for a related template, call it {{infobox criminal suspect}}, for those subjects who are not convicted criminals, but whose main basis for notability is being a criminal suspect (either never tried. or tried and acquitted). Two examples come immediately to mind: Sheppard and Lizzie Borden. There may be others, but most others I can think of immediately either (a) have substantial bases for notability other than their role as a suspect or defendant (e.g., Frank Quattrone, Ron Gonzales, Charles Keating, Aaron Burr); or, (b) although having his conviction vacated, was nonetheless convicted on retrial (e.g. Ernesto Miranda) so that the use of infobox criminal is appropriate. Certainly, some of the information formerly provided by infobox criminal, such as the victim of the crime (not of Sheppard) and other particulars of the crime, are the sort of thing you'd expect to be able to pick up from the infobox. TJRC (talk) 23:36, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
That infobox was mal-used on too many pages, alas. I did learn a lot about a lot of people going through all (several thousand) of them, for sure! Collect (talk) 23:48, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Medical school[edit]

I'm wondering about the accuracy of his medical studies in Los Angeles. According to multiple eyewitnesses/former friends, Sheppard attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (now AT Still University) in Kirksville, Mo. There were no inline citations in the Wiki, so I'm wondering where the L.A. info came from. Sector001 (talk) 20:24, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

I found this:
For several years, they had lived in Los Angeles, where Dr. Sam had attended the Los Angeles College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.
Cooper, Cynthia L.; Sheppard, Sam Reese (1995). Mockery of Justice: The True Story of the Sheppard Murder Case. Boston: Northeastern University Press. p. 13. ISBN 9781555532413. OCLC 32391248. 
TJRC (talk) 20:42, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Why is there a link to double jeopardy at the end of the article? There is no indication in the text that he was still considered to be the perpetrator, other than the above mention of Exoneration. If Double Jeopardy applied surely more should be made in the main text of this? 81.157.116.118 (talk) 21:21, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

It should be removed, I think. DJ is not an issue where a trial is thrown out. He was not acquitted at the first trial, DJ is a non-issue.
While we're at it, the other link, Sheppard v. Maxwell is sufficiently linked in the text and should not be repeated here per WP:SEEALSO. (As a general rule, the 'See also' section should not repeat links which [sic] appear in the article's body or its navigation boxes." TJRC (talk) 00:50, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Heriott[edit]

Many, such as Robert Hughes of the Heriott, TN Times Daily, have compared the O.J. Simpson trial to it, in terms of the often lurid press coverage it generated.

The only evidence I've found of the Heriott Times Daily, or of any Her(r)iot(t) in Tennessee, is in exact repetitions of this sentence. —Tamfang (talk) 05:01, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

"carnival atmosphere"[edit]

The phrase "carnival atmosphere" is repeated three times in the article. —Tamfang (talk) 22:51, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

I think the frequency of use is appropriate. It's mentioned once in the lead, which should summarize the article, as significant in his acquittal. Then it's mentioned in the "Media" section immediately after describing the coverage of the case, so it's topical. Lastly, it's mentioned as part of the court's decision in the "Appeals" section. I think all three usages are appropriate in their contexts. The "Media" part might be considered repetitive, but it's meant to tie the media coverage to later opinion on its effect on the case. Opencooper (talk) 11:25, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

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New Suspect described in book Tailspin[edit]

Twice I have posted additions to the Dr. Sam Sheppard article and twice it has been taken down. I referenced the specific page numbers in Tailspin that support the new evidence with photographs. Why has this new information been removed?

I lived in Bay Village at the time of the murder. My mother was a Cleveland newspaper reporter at the time and knew some of the principals. The inquest was in my elementary school. I have also interviewed some of the principals. I have an extensive collection of material on the case. I read portions of the ten volume trial transcript when it was being stored in a janitor's closet at the courthouse.

So, I ask again, why were my references removed? Max Rays (talk) 16:17, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Someone has even deleted Bernard Conner's book Tailspin from the bibliography above even though it contains extensive information about the Sam Sheppard case. Max Rays (talk) 20:29, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

It appears that EEng has twice deleted my additions to this article. If EEng sees this "talk," then I encourage EEng to read Bernard Conners' book Tailspin. The new information on the Sheppard case is well documented and is an important addition to this article. My own research and archives on the case is extensive. I would not be submitting these additions if they were not well documented. Please do not delete my additions after I repost them. Max Rays (talk) 20:56, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

@Max Rays: I played no part in the deletion of your edits. There are two problems. The first is that Major James Call's connection to this case is tenuous, being based only on the fact that he was passing through the state at the time and that the bloody outline of what may have been the murder weapon may have matched his Luger pistol. No evidence implicating him was found. Furthermore, he was apparently captured at the end of his crime spree but never admitted any connection to the Sheppard crime. The second problem is that you would need to provide a reference for the statement that Call embarked on a crime spree through several states after going AWOL. I have been unable to find any satisfactory online reference for such a statement. Conners' book appears to be the source of all online material. Akld guy (talk) 21:47, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Akld guy has pretty much said what I was going to say -- what really caught my eye is that the very content you added, Max Rays [3] called the theory "not widely known" -- that's the definition of something that's iffy for inclusion in an article. This was the OJ Simpson case of its time, and there have been many books on the subject, not all of which merit inclusion in the article. From this [4] it appears that Conners' theory is simply speculation on something that might have happened. And (more importantly) it doesn't seem that it's attracted any substantial attention -- these [5] [6] [7] were about all I could find, and they call the theory "contrived" and "farfetched".
But my interest has been piqued, and I'll have my hands on Conners' book in a few days, so I'll take a look. My prediction, though, is that the most this warrants is a single sentence mentioning this alternative theory -- see WP:WEIGHT. EEng 00:19, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
You obviously have not read the book. The evidence is indeed compelling. There are other details in Conners' book that make connections to the original investigation. I will add those with footnotes in future submissions. By censoring this information, you are depriving the public of an important perspective on the case. Call committed murder in Lake Placid, NY. Similar to Sheppard murder. Call is a more likely and realistic suspect than Richard Eberling. I was living in Bay Village at the time of the murder. My mother was a reporter for the Cleveland Plain at the time and personally knew the Mayor and his wife and the first police officer on the scene who I was able to interview. I do not submit this information lightly and without extensive research on my own. Please, do not delete this material for a fourth time. Max Rays (talk) 00:42, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
My mom was one of the first women to work on the Cleveland Press City Desk. She covered west side Cleveland politics for decades. I grew up with a high regard for accurate reporting. As I've said, I have spent years researching the Sheppard case and in my opinion, Call did it. Max Rays (talk) 00:49, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
It deserves more inches than one sentence! Max Rays (talk) 00:50, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
Your opinion and experience is irrelevant. You must provide references for your claims. You claimed as facts that: 1. Major Call was AWOL at the time of the Sheppard murder, 2. he was travelling through the same state at the time, 3. he was captured in Reno, Nevada, 4. he stopped in Cleveland to visit his brother, 5. the Sheppard home was very close to Huntington Beach Park, sharing beach access to Lake Erie. You provided not one reference to back up those statements of fact. In addition, you categorized Conners' book as "detailed and well researched", which is a WP:OR violation, being not a referenced quote. Your edit is unacceptable in its present state. Akld guy (talk) 00:59, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
I will add the footnotes in the weeks ahead. At the moment I am not at home with my documents. You have no knowledge of the depth of my research over 30+ years. I do not post this information lightly. I don't know anything about the depth and integrity of your own editing. I can support what I have posted. You don't have the information to discount it. The Sheppard case was dinner table conversation at my home. Again, my family knew these people. There are nuances to the case that can't be inferred from available sources. The majority of the authors on the case are promoting their own perspective. Part of the historical importance of the case is the media bias. By not including this perspective, you are extending the media bias. Max Rays (talk) 01:32, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
You are now edit-warring at the article and are the subject of a WP:ANI discussion here. You are free to participate in the discussion. Akld guy (talk) 01:56, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Max Rays, I want to highlight something you said: "There are nuances to the case that can't be inferred from available sources." This is the heart of your misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works. If it's not in the sources, we can't use it, period. Please read WP:No original research and I hope that will help you understand. In one of your recent edit summaries you wrote that the material is "from a 2002 book that also discusses the Sheppard case that has largely been ignored". Same thing: if others are ignoring it, Wikipedia will too, because Wikipedia is not the place to "get the word out". For these reasons I'm going to remove the material one more time. I said I would be getting Conners' book (though it may be a week or more) and after that we can talk more. In the meantime, please don't keep re-adding this stuff, because if you do you're like to get blocked from editing, and that would be a shame. Thanks. EEng 04:05, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

More on Tailspin[edit]

I've now spent some time going through Tailspin: The Strange Case of Major Call (cf. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and it's an interesting book about an, um, unusual person. But there are serious problems with using it for more than the single sentence now in the article:

A 2002 book theorizes that Marilyn Sheppard was murdered by James Call, an Air Force deserter who passed through Cleveland on a multi-state crime spree at the relevant time.

The book's own preface describes it as "a dramatized narrative supported by fact". Three-quarters of it is this dramatized narrative, and the last quarter is appendices presenting the supporting evidence -- actually a long series of exhibits (crime scene/autopsy photos, diagrams, pictures of weapons and suspects, police reports, etc.). Unfortunately, both parts are almost impossible to absorb, because there's no overview, no chapter titles, no index, and (most importantly) while there's a 25-page "Addendum" explaining how the exhibits fit into the theory that Call killed Marilyn Sheppard, there's no critical discussion -- alternative explanations, what other secondary sources say about the same evidence, weaknesses, etc. There are no footnotes, bibliography, references to other works on the case, or similar apparatus. It's pure advocacy.

I should add that I personally find Tailspin's theory mildly convincing i.e. I certainly think Call should be considered a suspect in the Sheppard murder. But that's just me. From Wikipedia's point of view, it's just one more theory of the crime which (perhaps though the weakness of its own presentation) hasn't received much attention, and that lack of attention needs to be reflected in the article's treatment.

I expect this will be disappointing to Max Rays, but as explained elsewhere we have to present theories in proportion to the prominence they're given in other authoritative sources. I truly hope this will not discourage him from helping improve the article in other ways -- it needs it, and someone steeped in the details of the case, and the many sources, would be a great help. EEng 21:06, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

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