Edgar Award Finalist: The hunt for Ronnie Shelton, Cleveland’s West Side Rapist, and the victims who united for justice—“Groundbreaking” (Ann Rule).
From 1983 to 1988, serial rapist Ronnie Shelton preyed on the women of Cleveland. Dubbed the West Side Rapist, twenty-seven-year-old Shelton would spy on his victims, stalk them, and brutally assault them in their homes. Arrested at least fifteen times for other crimes, Shelton slipped through the cracks of an overburdened police department so often it seemed he would never be caught.
Based on more than 150 interviews with the survivors, the police, psychiatrists, and Shelton himself, this “groundbreaking study of the infinite perils of serial rape” is the extensively researched story of Shelton’s crimes and the five-year pursuit that ended in his capture (Ann Rule). Investigative journalist James Neff also documents the long-term devastation caused by rape and celebrates the courage of the women who helped to put a sexual predator behind bars. It resulted in a sentence of 3,195 years—the longest in Ohio state history.
A finalist for the Edgar Award, Unfinished Murder is “not only a riveting nonfiction thriller but an important account about the true nature of sex crimes in America” from the prizewinning true crime journalist who is also the author of The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict on the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case and Mobbed Up: Jackie Presser’s High-Wire Life in the Teamsters, the Mafia, and the FBI, which was the basis for the HBO movie, Teamster Boss (Nicholas Pileggi).
Between 1983 and 1988, Ronnie Shelton raped at least 30 women in the Cleveland area. Neff (Mobbed Up), a senior editor of Cleveland magazine, discovered, after Shelton's conviction, that he had committed rapes before 1983 and estimates the total number of his victims at nearly 100. In the course of his spree, Shelton was stopped or picked up by the police 15 times for offenses like peeping into windows, but the connection to the rapes was never made. In faulting the police, Neff's chief target is Lt. Lucie Duvall, head of the Sex Crimes Unit. Yet the book is less about the rapist or inept police work than about the phenomenon of 30 victims bonding together to support one another and to testify in court about their experiences. As an outcome of their action, the judge determined that Shelton should never be released and sentenced him to 3198 years in prison. For this vivid and memorable account, the author interviewed survivors, the police and Shelton himself.