Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project in response to a post by Kim Cooper.
Judge Arthur Guerin told Sheppard W. King III that the beating he gave to his son was “the most aggravated case I have heard in my 11 years on the bench. It is beyond human understanding how you could beat a little child like that.”
King was freed on $2,500 bail until his hearing on Dec. 10. During the trial, the boy accompanied his mother to the stand as she testified, then got up in the witness’ seat after she was excused and looked at Judge Harold B. Landreth.
“He was removed, but escaped from his mother again, took over the bailiff’s chair and finally wound up in the seat of defense attorney Lew Moses,” The Times said.
Charges were reduced from felony child beating to simple assault and King was convicted. The next day, he was fined $50. The judge said he reduced the penalty to the minimum because King, a Texan, had been forced to remain in California for two months pending his trial.
As Kim pointed out, almost exactly four years later, King had converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah King so he could marry Egyptian dancer Samia Gamal. He once said: “I don’t mind giving up ham, but it’s pretty rough giving up liquor.”
In 1960, King’s third wife, Mona, announced that she was returning to the U.S. from Madrid to seek a divorce. A 1970 story by Times staff writer Nicholas C. Criss lamented the passing of such flashy Texas oil millionaires as King who was by then “leading a quiet life.” Criss noted that King’s son had attended the University of Texas and a Google search reveals a man named Sheppard W. King IV is an attorney in Houston.