(2007, 28 min. DVD, $9.95+ tax, s&h) The Day Marilyn Died solely focuses on events leading up to the story Sam Sheppard told investigators about the early morning hours of Independence Day 1954. Advances in blood spatter evidence and close reexamination of what was found the day of Marilyn Sheppard’s murder – and what was not found – strongly suggest what police, prosecutors, newspapers and the public suspected from the beginning: they got the right man. The program features interviews with Ms. O’Donnell and with writers Dick Feagler and Brent Larkin, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and Bay Village retired policeman Fred Drenkhan, the first officer to arrive at the murder scene. Author James Jessen Badal hosts each episode in the series. Original theme music for the series was composed by Carl Michel.
Winner of two regional Emmy awards.
When Doris O’Donnell began writing for the Cleveland papers in 1937, female reporters were rare and always wore white gloves. In a career that spanned half a century, she pranced around as a cigarette girl and drove an army tank; she jockeyed with male reporters for scoops on the police beat and maneuvered her way through riot torn streets; she breached the Iron Curtain in the early days of the Cold War and prowled the streets of Los Angeles on the trail of the gun used to killed Robert Kennedy. Ms. O’Donnell worked for the Cleveland News, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and a number of smaller papers in between, and at one time handled public relations for Mayor Ralph J. Perk as well as for the Cleveland Zoo. She was niece to the county sheriff, daughter of a Democratic Party ward leader, friend to the county coroner and the wife of another of Cleveland’s prominent journalists, Howard Beaufait.