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Michael HillConners fits together evidence from the two crimes like pieces of the same puzzle -- things like a bite wound on Call's hand the author contends was inflicted by Sheppard during her death struggle. He backs up his case with witnesses who years later still identify Call as the mysterious, bushy-haired man lurking near the Sheppard home in the early morning hours of July 4, 1954....
Jeff Call, the major's only child and now a buisnessman in Mississippi, said the book offers a "very objective" look at his father. He has never gone looking for a connection to the Marilyn Sheppard because "it was none of my business."
So, does he believe Conners' theory of the murder?
"I'm not going to second-guess a guy who's a professional," Call said. "He's very accomplished in his ability."
"Tailspin" is a dramaticized version of Call's story, but Conners makes his case for the Sheppard link in a lengthy appendix. Here are some highlights.
-A crowbar confiscated from Call fits as a murder weapon in the Sheppard case, based on the wounds to the victim's head. Call's crowbar had chipping red paint. Chips of red paint were found at Sheppard's house.
-Testimony from a forensic expert indicates Sheppard bit down on the hand of her attacker. Fingerprints taken of Call upon his arrest show an injury to his left index finger consistent with a bite. The mark does not appear on fingerprints taken when Call joined the military in 1943. Investigators found a fresh fingertip bandage at the Lake Placid shootout.
-A tiny triangle of leather was found at the Sheppard site, consistent with a leather flyers' glove of the sort Call was issued. The tear on the glove is consistent with a bite.
-Dr. Sheppard claimed the intruder in his home limped; Call had recently hurt his knee in a car wreck.
-Richard and Betty Jean Knitter saw a man that night near the Sheppard home. Looking at Call's picture 46 years later, Richard Knitter said: "That's the man we saw through our car window that night.
— Associated Press