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Crime News Breaking News

Convicted Rapist Sentenced To Thousands Of Years Behind Bars Reportedly Jumps To His Death Off Prison Building

Ronnie Shelton, known in Cleveland as the "West Park rapist," was sentenced to serve between 1,554 and 3,195 years in jail after raping more than 30 women.

By Jill Sederstrom

A man sentenced to thousands of years in prison after raping more than 30 woman in Cleveland during the 1980s has died in an apparent jail suicide.

Ronnie Shelton, who was dubbed the "West Park rapist" by the city, was pronounced dead the evening of Sept. 25 after he jumped off the Grafton Correctional Institution building and fractured his skull, according to Cleveland.com.

Authorities don't believe foul play was involved and are considering it a suicide; however, it hasn't been determined how Shelton was able to get to the top of the building, the news outlet reports.

He reportedly jumped at about 4:30 p.m., but wasn't pronounced dead until 8:15 p.m. after being flown by emergency helicopter to a Cleveland hospital for medical treatment, according to court records obtained by Cleveland.com.

Jo Ellen Smith, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, has declined to provide additional details in the death because the investigation is ongoing, the Associated Press reports.

Shelton was found guilty of 220 counts of rape and was sentenced in 1989 to serve 1,554 to 3,195 years for the crimes.

Police believe he was responsible for the rape of more than 30 women, who were often in their 20s and home alone at the time of the attacks. He was also known to force the victim to reveal the PIN number to her bank card and would later withdraw money using the card, the AP reported.

The habit would eventually lead to his capture after his photograph was taken at one of the bank machines.

According to jail records from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Shelton would have turned 57 on Monday.

[Photo: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction]

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