Sam Sheppard murder

Perry County Judge Luann Cooperrider presented the history of the Sam Sheppard murder trial at the Somerset Courthouse in November.

SOMERSET — Judge Cooperrider presented the history of the Sam Sheppard murder trial to a packed audience in the historic Somerset courthouse on Nov. 21.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of this landmark case. Judge Cooperrider goes through the entire history of this case including two criminal trials and one civil trial. She has prepared this presentation and is passionate about fairness and our justice system.

Samuel Holmes “Sam” Sheppard, who was born Dec. 29, 1923 and died April 6, 1960. Sheppard was a Bay Village, Ohio neurosurgeon, who was initially convicted for the 1954 murder of his wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard.

This case was highly controversial from the beginning, with extensive and prolonged nationwide media coverage.

The U.S. Supreme Court determined that the “carnival atmosphere” surrounding Sheppard’s first murder trial had made due process impossible. After 10 years in prison Dr. Sheppard was acquitted at a second trial.

Defending Dr. Sheppard during this ordeal was the well-known attorney F. Lee Bailey.

“This case has always intrigued me for years,” stated Judge Cooperrider, who has spent long hours reading and studying the court documents and other material on the life surrounding Dr. Sheppard. “Although this murder may have happened in the 1950s, I believe many people share my interest as well.”

All presentations are to benefit non-profit groups. The next presentation will be to benefit the Calvary Arts Center in 2020.

Donations were earmarked to the Perry County Park District, which Judge Cooperrider formed in 1995. The Perry County Park District offers activities all year long at various locations. Some of the events planned for 2020 will be a hike at Fort Glenford, a telescope event at the Clay Center scheduled for Aug. 15, 2020, kayaking and canoeing events and other events.

The Perry County Park District has a Facebook page and is currently working on a list and a map of all the parks in the county. The Park Board meets the second Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. at the Perry Behavioral Health Activity Center. The public is welcome. The Park Board would welcome suggestions and assistance from the public.

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