From 1983 to 1988, he made Cleveland's West Side his hunting ground and its women his prey. He spied on them, silently invading their most intimate moments, then entered their homes. For the victims of serial rapist Ronnie Shelton, the ordeal began with his terrifying whisper: "Don't look at me. Do what I say and you won't get hurt...."
Each woman had been attacked by a stranger who in a moment devastated her life and left her to face "unfinished murder" the emotional and psychological devastation that is the aftermath of rape. At the end of a five-year manhunt, Shelton would be convicted of raping twenty-nine women probably less than a third of those he actually raped. Unfinished Murder is the incredible story of a group of survivors who found the courage to speak out, to testify against Shelton and see justice served. During his reign of terror, they lived in fear and silence, warned by him that if they talked he would come back and kill them. After his arrest, they bonded together and found understanding and healing....
Among his victims were Karen Holztrager, a wife and mother who was haunted later by recurring nightmares...Becky Roth, a teacher of the handicapped, who after the rape suffered depression, suicidal feelings, and, subsequently, a shattered marriage...Betty Ocilka, a postal worker and policeman's widow, who forced herself not to cry during the attack because the sound would frighten her young son sleeping upstairs.
Detective Bob Matuszny, who knew Betty Ocilka and had known her late husband, made Shelton's arrest his personal mission. Matuszny was outraged that a serial rapist was marauding through his city and furious that the police were being outwitted by a criminal who brazenly struck the moment their lookouts were down. Despite bureaucratic red tape and paralyzing city budget cuts, Matuszny persevered. But it would take years to make the connection that the low-level criminal brought in by police over a dozen times for assault, probation violations, bar brawls, and disturbing the peace was guilty of so much more.
Based on author James Neff's interviews with the survivors, police, psychiatrists, and with Ronnie Shelton, Unfinished Murder probes the contradictory mind of a sex offender to determine what went wrong and why the warning signs of his disturbing behavior went unnoticed for so long. Shelton's distorted sexual fantasies and propensity for violence during his teenage years made a lethal mix; yet he slipped through every one of society's safety nets to become a calculating and seemingly unstoppable adult offender. UNFINISHED MURDER is an astounding expose of police work hampered by an overtaxed urban criminal justice system; it is also an indictment of society's failure to address the issue of rape and its brutal aftermath. Most of all, it is the uplifting story of women who found a unified voice with which to demand justice. Their silent fear turned to triumph on the day Ronnie Shelton was sentenced to 3,198 years in prison. Their healing process continues.