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West Park rapist, who raped 30 women in Cleveland in the 1980s, dies in prison

September 27, 2018

West Park rapist, who raped 30 women in Cleveland in the 1980s, dies in prison

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Cleveland man convicted of raping more than 30 women in a string of attacks across the city’s West Side in the span of six years in the 1980s died in the Grafton Correctional Institution prison cell where he was serving out a 3,000-year sentence, according to the county prosecutor’s office.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections notified the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office that Ronnie Shelton, 57, had died, prosecutor’s spokesman Ryan Miday said. 

Shelton, dubbed Cleveland’s “West Park rapist,” received the county’s longest sentence from then-Common Pleas Court Judge Richard McMonagle in 1989, 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.

Timothy J. McGinty, the assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor who handled the case and went on to serve as a county judge and chief prosecutor, praised the police officers and FBI agents who spent months working to identify Shelton and tie him to the rapes.

But he saved his biggest praise for the more than 30 women who came forward and pressed charges after they said Shelton, who taunted to them that he knew where their children attended school and their mothers lived, threatened to kill them and their families if they went to the police.

“I’m so glad these ladies outlived the son of a b---h,” McGinty said.

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