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Cleveland’s ‘West Park rapist’ jumped to his death off building inside prison

October 2, 2018

Cleveland’s ‘West Park rapist’ jumped to his death off building inside prison

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ronnie Shelton, Cleveland’s “West Park rapist” who was imprisoned in 1989, jumped off a building at Grafton Correctional Institution last week, according to records reviewed Tuesday by cleveland.com.

Shelton suffered a fractured skull and other injuries when he landed on concrete, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office records. Investigators do not suspect foul play was involved and his death is being investigated as a suspected suicide, the records said.

Shelton, who was sentenced to thousands of years in prison in 1989 for raping more than 30 women, was pronounced dead about 8:15 p.m. Sept. 25 at MetroHealth Medical Center, records show.

He jumped from a building at the prison about 4:30 p.m. that day, records show. He was rushed to a local hospital in Lorain County before being flown by an emergency helicopter to Cleveland, records say.

It’s unclear how Shelton got on top of the building. Jo Ellen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, declined to comment on Shelton’s death, citing an ongoing investigation.

Shelton received the county’s longest sentence from then-Common Pleas Court Judge Richard McMonagle after a jury found him guilty of 220 counts of rape in one of the most high-profile cases of the decade.

McMonagle sentenced Shelton to anywhere between 1,554 and 3,195 years in prison.

To comment on this story, please visit Tuesday’s crime and courts comments page.

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