Long-ago mystery keeps Jake awake
So you sit down to read a little while and all hell breaks loose.
Plopped down into my recliner about 9 p.m. last night. Wanted to make a big dent in this Sam Sheppard murder trial book that's keeping me up late ("The Wrong Man" by James Neff).
Got all comfy. Worked my way through a few pages. Sam is in jail, the trial is about to start.
Then the phone rings.
So, I make it through one conversation, then the call waiting buzzer sounds. Off I go to conversation number two.
Then I smell a strange odor. I look up, and see smoke coming out of the top of my halogen lamp.
I think the thing is on fire, so I turn it off, and unplug it. "Nah," Dewayne Lawson says via Macon, Ga., "you've just got a fly in it."
Sure enough, I did. Didn't see it at first, but it was quite dead when I looked this morning. I'm chucking the lamp anyway. Gonna go get a LCD after work tonight.
Crisis averted, calls completed, I finally get back to the book.
The Cleveland prosecutors at the time were, according to the author, shameless. The local press didn't help much. The deck, shall we say, was very much stacked against the good Dr. Sheppard.
Even the late Dorothy Kilgallen, then a star columnist for Hearst and my favorite panelist on "What's My Line," missed a major scoop. Turns out that the judge, Edward J. Blythin, told Kilgallen during a private conversation before the trial began that Sheppard was "guilty as hell." What's even more amazing is that Kilgallen, a sharp reporter, didn't reveal this nugget until years later at a press banquet in New York.
Well, I got up to the point at which the prosecution rested its case. I'm eager to see how this goes from here, because right now, the prosecution's case seems totally based on hearsay and circumstantial evidence. I do know this: given the climate of the time, I can't believe that Sheppard wasn't granted a change in venue. Seems like the whole town wanted him to fry.
Anyway, I got to bed about 1:30, which wasn't too bad. Sadly, I had dreams that I was somehow caught up in the middle of the Sheppard murder.
I'll be glad when I finish this book. It's starting to consume my life.