‘Will die behind bars’: Serial rapist pleads guilty to two cold case sexual assaults

Ohio

Ronald Wheeler (courtesy: Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department)

**Warning: Some of the details of the case, below, are extremely disturbing.**

CLEVELAND (WJW) — A man, who is already serving a nearly 50-year prison sentence for four rapes, was just sentenced to an additional 20 years behind bars for two cold case sexual assaults.

According to a press release from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, Ronald Wheeler, 48, pleaded guilty to raping two women in Cleveland in Dec. 2006 and March 2007. He pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.

“This serial rapist, who has been convicted of raping six victims, will now rightfully die behind bars,” said Prosecutor O’Malley. “Although delayed, justice has been served for these victims.”

According to the release, on Dec. 18, 2006, Wheeler approached the 18-year-old victim on Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. He pulled out a gun and forced the victim to climb through a window of a nearby building. The prosecutor’s office said the woman was sexually assaulted multiple times and Wheeler threatened to kill her. The woman was taken to the hospital where a sexual assault kit was collected.

Then, on March 19, 2007, according to authorities, Wheeler approached a 23-year-old woman who was holding her five-month-old baby at a bus stop near Woodhill Road and Woodland Avenue in Cleveland. A release from the prosecutor’s office states he pulled out a gun, threatened to kill the woman and her infant, and forced her to a vacant area by train tracks. He sexually assaulted her multiple times — several times while holding the woman’s baby — and continued to threaten their lives before stealing her money and taking off. The victim was taken to the hospital where a sexual assault kit was collected.

The Sexual Assault Kit Task Force was assembled by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 2013 to look into investigative leads that resulted from the testing of previously unsubmitted rape kits — primarily from 1993-2011. Both victims’ rape kits were tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) as part of the initiative. According to the release, the offender’s DNA from both victims’ rape kits produced matches to Wheeler, whose DNA was in the database from his prior crimes.

Wheeler will not be eligible for parole until 2075.

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