February 4, 1997 in Nation/World

Clues Surface In ‘Fugitive’ Murder Dna Puts Third Person At Scene, Could Be The Window Washer

Akron Beacon Journal

Long-awaited DNA test results that may unlock the secrets of one of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries - whether Dr. Sam Sheppard killed his wife, Marilyn, on July 4, 1954 - are to be released today, putting a third person at the crime scene.

The results will show clear evidence that a third person’s blood was spilled in the Sheppards’ suburban Bay Village home where the 31-year-old pregnant mother was bludgeoned to death, according to sources in the investigation.

But it remains to be seen whether that blood can be traced to Richard Eberling, a 67-year-old convicted murderer who was the Sheppards’ window washer at the time of the killing.

The samples were taken from the basement stairs, the porch, a swatch from Sheppard’s trousers and vaginal swabs taken from Marilyn Sheppard that apparently never were tested at the time.

The tests have been conducted for the past several months by Indianapolis DNA expert Dr. Mohammed Tahir, who along with various experts, have volunteered their time to try to solve the 42-year-old case.

Tahir’s testing compared the DNA of Marilyn Sheppard and Richard Eberling with DNA extracted from four samples taken from the crime scene.

Eberling, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of an elderly Lakewood widow, was ordered to give blood last year after Samuel R. Sheppard sued in 1995, seeking to have his late father declared innocent.

Eberling told police in 1959 that he had cut himself changing windows in the Sheppard home the same week Marilyn was murdered.

Employees of Eberling’s window-washing company, however, said Eberling hadn’t been in the home that week.

The Sheppard murder was the basis of the 1963-67 hit TV series, “The Fugitive,” that Hollywood made into a 1993 movie.

In real life, Dr. Sam Sheppard died a victim of alcoholism in 1970, six years after his release from prison - apparently never knowing the identity of the real killer.

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