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February 05, 1997 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-05

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14 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 5, 1997


DNA results support Sheppard's
testimony in famous 'Fugitive' trial

The Washington Post
An enduring mystery in the history of crime - the
1954 Sam Sheppard murder case that inspired the TV
series "The Fugitive" - may have been resolved yes-
terday. New DNA testing of 42-year-old evidence
from the Ohio slaying suggests Sheppard was telling
the truth when he said that an intruder, and not he,
bludgeoned his pregnant wife to death.
The intruder became the mythical "one-armed
man" on TV and in the popular imagination.
The DNA test results, presented to the Cuyahoga
County prosecutor's office in Cleveland yesterday,
found the blood and semen of a third person on crime
scene items. The findings supported the physician's
much-scorned story that a shadowy, "bushy-haired"
figure had attacked his wife, Marilyn, in her bed as
Sheppard snoozed nearby on a couch in the early
morning of July 4, 1954.
Largely because of circumstantial evidence, and
because no credible evidence of an intruder ever sur-

faced, Sheppard, then 30, was found guilty of the mur-
der. The conviction was overturned 10 years later in a
key U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prejudicial publici-
ty had made the trial a "carnival."
At a second trial in 1966, in which he was defend-
ed by a young F Lee Bailey, Sheppard was acquitted.
But doubts about his innocence persisted. He died an
alcoholic in 1970, guilty of murder in the eyes of
"I feel Dad is definitely exonerated," said Sam
Reese Sheppard, the Sheppards' only son, in a
phone interview from San Francisco. "The truth has
finally prevailed. Since I heard the results I've
bounced back and forth between anger and relief.
At least, now Mom and Dad can be remembered as
the people they truly were."
Exactly who the killer was, however, DNA can't say
- at least with any certainty.
Earlier this year, an Ohio judge, hearing a civil
case in which Sheppard's son is seeking a declaration

of innocence for his father, ordered that a blood sam-
ple be drawn from Richard Eberling, who had
washed the windows in the Sheppards' suburban
Cleveland home around the time of the murder.
Eberling, 67, is serving a life sentence in Ohio for
murder in another case.
Eberling, who denies having killed Marilyn
Sheppard, was identified as a suspect through a six-
year private investigation of the murder by lawyers
and investigators working with Sam Reese Sheppard.
The allegation was contained in a 1995 book,
"Mockery of Justice: The True Story of the Sheppard
Murder Case" by Sam Reese Sheppard and writer
Cynthia Cooper.
The DNA tests found that Eberling could not be
ruled out as the source of blood from the crime scene
because he shared a key genetic marker with blood
and semen taken from it. But the DNA analysis falls
short of declaring a match between Eberling's DNA
and that extracted from evidence.

Dr. Sam Sheppard, accompanied by law officers, returns to his Jail cell in Cleveland
on December 21, 1954, after a jury found the 30-year-old doctor guilty of killing
his wife, Marilyn. She was bludgeoned to death at their suburban home the previ-
ous July 4. His murder trial inspired the television drama, "The Fugitive".

- I

Pilots may strike at American Airlines

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The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - American Airlines said yester-
day it would suspend all operations immediately if it is
struck by its pilots union Feb. 15, an action that could
leave thousands of passengers stranded in the middle of
one of the biggest holiday travel weekends of the year.
"If the pilots strike we will be forced to shut down
the airline completely," said American spokesman
Christopher Chiames, repeating an earlier warning by
the nation's second-largest airline as the strike dead-
line loomed closer, with both sides still deadlocked
over terms of a new contract.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which repre-
sents American's 9,000 pilots, has set a strike deadline
of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15. The deadline comes
in the middle of the Presidents' Day holiday weekend.
Chiames said travelers who start out on American that
weekend would not be able to return home on the air-
line if a strike occurs.
Chaimes said the airline was still discussing
whether to also shut down operations of its American
Eagle commuter service, which employs pilots repre-
sented by a different union.
APA spokesperson David Groves said that if there is
no agreement by the deadline, "there will be a strike:'
He would not predict the chances of a strike, but said,
"Our board of directors has presented what it would
take for a settlement and that is our bottom line."
The two sides are scheduled to meet in Dallas
tomorrow to explain their proposals before heading to
Washington on Monday for one last week of what is
known as "super mediation" with members of the
National Mediation Board. Neither side appeared
optimistic yesterday that a strike could be avoided.
American officials have been lobbying the Clinton

American Airlines pilots walk the picket line outside the airline's terminal at the Dallas/Fort Worth
International Airport yesterday.

administration to call on both sides to submit their dis-
pute to binding arbitration before the strike deadline.
The pilots have refused. So far, however, there is no
indication the White House is willing to act, at least
not before a strike occurs. Legally, there is nothing the
government can do to stop a strike short of asking
Congress to end a walkout once it begins, which is
considered unlikely.

APA members in January turned down a tentative
contract agreement reached late last year.
Since then, the union has replaced its negotiating
committee and put a new set of demands on the table
- proposals that the company say would cost another
$200 million per year and make American uncomp
itive with other U.S. carriers. The pilots are pai
average of $120,000 a year.

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