The imprint of a unique sole of a tennis shoe was among the key evidence that led to the 1988 identification and conviction of William E. Griffith Jr. as the region’s ski-mask rapist. Since December 1988, Griffith, who now is age 69, has been in Ohio’s prison system. He was denied parole in 2009 and won’t be eligible for another parole hearing until 2019. After nearly three decades of voyeurism and serial rape, the ski-mask rapist met his match when persistent Police Detective Christopher Rudy turned a local investigation into a regional and then nationwide search. The manhunt ended in Arizona in August 1988 when Phoenix police captured the father of five after several phone communiqués from Rudy, ending the suspect’s freedom just four months after his last known sexual assault – that being The Last Victim. The rapist’s method of operation, involving the wearing of a dark ski mask and being armed with a knife and flashlight, has been linked to at least 60 cases of voyeurism and rape across Ohio as well as in Michigan, Oklahoma and Arizona. He is serving two consecutive 10- to 25-year terms for the April 1988 rape of the woman believed to have been his last rape victim. He also is serving a concurrent sentence for a Portage County rape because Ohio’s six-year statute of limitations had expired before the rapist could be brought to justice in all the other cases. The state legislature finally extended the statute to 20 years in 2000, long after the convicted felon was behind bars.
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"A true-crime account of a forgotten but horrific monster terrorizing the United States, written by one of the police officers responsible for his capture.
William E. Griffith had a troubled childhood and difficult teenage years, growing up to become a moderately successful traveling salesman. His job enabled him to practice his second life as a voyeur and serial rapist—one who remained active for nearly 30 years. Former police officer Rudy and writing partner Davis detail Griffith’s crimes, mistakes, victims and ultimately his capture and incarceration. The authors rely on police reports and personal memory in reconstructing the background, methods, habits and deeds of Griffith, who’s now behind bars. The subject operated by prowling towns in the Midwest for the homes of women, often single mothers, and he’d watch them from a distance while masturbating. His behavior soon escalated, and he became increasingly dangerous: Knife in hand and face covered by a ski mask, he broke into women’s houses and raped them while their children slept. It’s a chilling, disturbing report, but Rudy and Davis don’t linger on the horrific details as some true crime authors do. Equal time is given to Griffith, the police department’s decades-long search and Griffith’s victims. Intimately portraying the victims’ lives discourages readers from becoming inured to the violence and the long-term effects of being attacked. The book, which reads like a long-form journalism, has a purpose: The authors want to ensure that Griffith (who’s incarcerated for at least another seven years) is never released. While not ideal for bedtime reading, it’s a powerful and convincing narrative.
A disturbing, haunting account of a sexual predator."
"There are men who find pleasure in debasing women by using their strength, physical power and their anger to assault a person without their consent through sexual intercourse. Rape has many definitions and the FBI Criminal Justice Advisory Police Board, realized that the definition was too narrow and did not include rapes that were inflicted by women against women or men against men.
"So in October, the FBI's UCR subcommittee Advisory Policy Board voted to recommend the definition be expanded. The new definition of rape, which looks set to be "officially" adopted by the FBI in 2012, is as follows: "Rape" is: ...penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." This is where our story begins as one detective and one reporter lay out the facts, tell us the story of one man's 30 year reign of rape, why it too so long to capture him, how he eluded the police and remained under the radar and why he committed this heinous crime. The Last Victim begins with the story of the final victim who helped capture William E Griffin Jr. the Ski Mask Rapist. Christopher Rudy with George Davis present the facts, allow the reader to hear the voices and thoughts of the victims as one man for 30 years preyed on women from Ohio, Michigan and Arizona to be convicted of only two rapes. Hiding in the bushes outside of many homes, calling these women on the phone with prank calls, rapes at knife-point, countless threats against his victims and forcing them to commit unspeakable acts against themselves in order to give him pleasure William E. Griffin Jr. created each scene, orchestrated each rape and defiled these women so they would no longer feel safe alone in their home. Threatening young children bringing them into the mix, hiding behind a mask as a coward so he could not be seen, using his size to overtake these defenseless women, this monster stole the dignity, and self-worth of so many.
Retired Jackson Township, Ohio, Police Lt. Christopher Rudy, the author of this book attended in March 2009 "Victim Impact" portion of the parole hearing for his horrific man. As the last victim, as the book is titled, Melissa Brown (not her real name) spoke out against this man as did hearing officer Molly Scott (not her real name) states that she cannot keep the victims straight in this case as Melissa explains that she is THE LAST VICTIM.
Each victim endured the same thing at the hand, body and mind of this diabolical man. The case and the voices of the victims are presented in an accurate timeline allowing the reader to follow the investigation over the 30-year period that many law enforcement agencies spent trying to find this rapist and finally bring him to justice. The countless hours, the frustration and knowing that he was hiding in plain sight makes it even more difficult for those involved to come to grips with the fact that he could have been caught many times and managed to find ways to convince the police he was a victim not the perpetrator. Added in are the accounts given of his marriages, the reasons he was able to get out and not be suspected and the naivety of these women to fall for his lies and lines.
Every step of the way the authors take the reader through the entire investigation until Christopher finally catches a strong break and hopefully they will once and for all arrest this person. His parents as stumbling blocks, one person in his family realizing the gravity of the situation and one ex-wife that finally came to some harsh realizations as Christopher was looking at all of the evidence, worked with so many other people he realized a serious mistake was made. No one took this criminal's fingerprint card to the crime lab. Why hadn't anyone compared it with unknown latent prints? But, the end is far from over even though he is now in prison. There are many who still believe this man is innocent as he continues to manipulate them, make them believe his lies and preys on their weaknesses costing them more than just their naivety or hope that someone like him was innocent. The final outcome, the judge's verdict and where he stands now you will have to read for yourself. The hard work that went into finding him, getting him to admit what he did and finally hoping to bring closure for his victims still remains to be seen.
As the authors chronicle the events and enlighten readers about other rapes, laws that need enforcement and the hope that all states will enforce the Adam Walsh Act I have to agree that this crime is one that victims relive daily and will never really be able to find closure. Let's hope that William Griffin Jr. never again sees the light of day or ever has the hope of freedom. This is one book that has a strong impact on the reader and anyone who understands that Rape is more than just a serious crime against the person it is perpetrated against it is more like a murdering your body, self-worth and defenses."
-Fran Lewis, Shelfari.com
"Wow it is not very often i get a book that I can not put down and read all the way through like i did this book. The book is a very well crafted True Crime book giving you details on every aspect of the crime.
I might be a bit over the top with the review knowing some what of the case but very well knowing of the locations and the time period of the crime growing up in the same location. I found it to be right up there with an Ann Rule book and an amazing feat considering this was his first book that I know of.
If you are a fan of True Crime this one should be in your library. The e-book version even contains some of the actual crime scene photos, glad to see they included."
-Kipp Poe Speicher
"WHAT I LIKED:
True crime has always interested me because a long long time ago, I wanted to be a forensic scientist. The tricky thing about true crime novels is that there's a fine line between presenting the case in a factual manner without the book coming across as a textbook. Believe it or not, there have been times I've read about crimes that should have kept me captivated, yet they practically put me to sleep.
That being said, I loathe when authors sensationalize crimes for the sake of selling more books. I was a bit skeptical at first because The Last Victim is written by a former cop and typically the true crime novels I've read are written by reporters or dedicated novelists. I was afraid this could come across as a police report, dry and nothing but the facts. Thankfully, I was wrong.
This book drew me in and I felt like I was right there with the cops working to catch this killer. With this being a serial rapist, I was a tad worried about how the victims' stories would be told. Chris relayed the details of the crimes in a way that conveyed the depravity of the William Griffith without making a spectacle of the victims. This section was more straightforward, a detached description of what happened to each of the women, but in many ways I found it to be more powerful.
Throughout the rest of the book, you get an insiders look into the hunt for a serial rapist and I felt just as frustrated as the investigators. Even knowing how the book would end, I breathed a sigh of relief when Griffith was captured and locked away. The use of crime scene photos definitely enhanced the book.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There really wasn't anything I didn't like about this.
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/5 Blue Duckies!!
This is a powerful book about the tireless efforts to bring down a depraved serial rapist. The fact that it was told by the detective responsible for bringing this man to justice makes this even more compelling. While certain aspects of the book, in particular the section describing the individual crimes, could be disturbing for some readers, I highly recommend this book and hope to see more from this author."
-Lindsay Avalon, The Lindsay Avalon Show