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Suicide note

June 9, 2007 |  6:45 am



June 9, 1957
Los Angeles

James R. Shepard decided it was better to kill himself than be prosecuted for a crime so shameful that it could not be published in The Times. A few hours after  the 32-year-old insurance investigator was arrested in a bar at 850 N. La Brea Ave. in Hollywood, he shot himself in the head.

Shepard was found on the floor of his apartment at 238 N. Cordova St. in Burbank by Charles W. Barrickman, 8333 Spingford Drive, Sun Valley. He had left a note insisting that he was in the bar as part of an insurance investigation but couldn't prove it. "I do not have the name or money that Mr. Mickey Cohen had, so I cannot fight the Los Angeles Police Department," he wrote.

What was Shepard's offense? "A morals charge," The Times said. He was free on $500 bail pending a hearing in Municipal Court.

Given The Times' silence on the details of the alleged crime and Shepard's suicide over being arrested, it's easy to infer that he was gay. Unfortunately, it's impossible to locate the name of the bar at that address or find any further information on him or his friend Barrickman.

All we know is that whatever happened, his death was a tragedy. Rest in peace, James R. Shepard.

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