Serial rapist sentenced to 22 years

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Ronald Wheeler pled guilty on December 4, 2014 to two counts of rape. Now Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Dick Ambrose has given Wheeler the maximum sentence available under current law: 11 years for each count. Those terms are to be served consecutively beginning in 2034, after his current prison sentence for two other rapes ends. When Wheeler's incarceration ends in 2056, he will be 84 years old.

About 2:30 p.m. on August 14, 1994, Wheeler approached an 18-year-old woman at a bus stop on Lorain Road in the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland. He told her he had a gun and she had to come with him. Wheeler took the woman to a small wooded strip of land between a gas station and a pizza shop, forced her to lie face down and raped her. He fled with her purse.

On December 2, 1994, around 8:45 p.m., Wheeler accosted a 14-year-old Magnificat High School student as she waited for a bus at West 98th Street and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland. He pointed a metal object at her and threatened to shoot her if she did not go with him. Wheeler forced the girl into a nearby alley where he slammed her head against a wall, forced her to lie face down and raped her. He then fled.

Both crimes went unsolved for nearly 20 years until the victims' rape kits were submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing as part of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The DNA detected in the kits matched Wheeler's profile in the state's CODIS data base. The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

"Ronald Wheeler brutally terrorized and raped two young women who had to wait 20 years for justice," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Weston who represented the State of Ohio. "Our community is safer with this vicious serial offender in prison."

Wheeler has been in prison for the rapes of two other women in 2007. In one case, he forced a 28-year-old woman to accompany him from an RTA Rapid station and raped her at gunpoint. In the other, he took a 16-year-old from a bus stop and raped her at knifepoint.

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