Elmhurst police: Ripper Crew member to be released March 29

Thomas Kokoraleis, one of the infamous Ripper Crew members who committed a string of violent, sexually motivated murders of women in Chicago and the suburbs in the early 1980s, will be released from prison later this month authorities said Tuesday.

Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth said he received a letter from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board Tuesday morning that said Kokoraleis will be released on March 29.

Kokoraleis, 57, was convicted of the 1982 murder of Lorraine "Lorry" Borowski of Elmhurst based on an accountability theory, which means he was held accountable for the acts committed by other individuals - Andrew Kokoraleis and Edward Spreitzer - that resulted in the woman's death.

Kokoraleis, of Villa Park, admitted to participating in Borowski's abduction and to being present while Andrew Kokoraleis and Spreitzer raped and murdered her, but he denied he was involved in either the rape or murder.

"All of the police officers and detectives who worked on this case have long since retired," Ruth wrote on the department's Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. "However, the pain, anguish and loss have remained within our organization as we have continued to monitor the status of the Ripper Crew. We have not forgotten."

Kokoraleis was sentenced to 70 years in prison. Based on Illinois laws in effect when he was sentenced in 1986, Kokoraleis was required to serve half his sentence and was scheduled to enter mandatory supervised release in 2017.

His release was delayed, however, because he did not find a home that complies with Illinois' convicted sex-offender residency conditions. A spokesman for DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in 2017 that unless Kokoraleis found approved housing he would remain in prison until at least March 30, 2019.

"In the early 1980s a prison sentence of 70 years seemed like a long time, but that time has now arrived. We must respect the criminal justice process, and follow the rule of law," Ruth said Tuesday. "Understanding that the parole of this killer causes much pain and grief, please know that we extend our heartfelt condolences to the Borowski family, friends, and Elmhurst community, and know that the Elmhurst Police Department stands with you during this difficult time."

As for the other members of the Ripper Crew, Andrew Kokoraleis, Thomas' brother, was convicted of the murders of Borowski and Rose Davis and sentenced to death. He was executed in 1999.

Spreitzer was convicted of the murders of Linda Sutton, Shui Mak, Rose Davis, Sandra Delaware and Raphael Tiradao, and he is serving a natural-life prison sentence with no possibility of parole. He originally was given a death sentence that was commuted when then-Gov. George Ryan commuted all death sentences in Illinois.

Another member of the group, Robin Gecht, was convicted of the attempted murder, rape, aggravated kidnapping and deviate sexual assault of a woman and is not eligible for parole until 2042.

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