Reputed Chicago gang member, killer set for prison release
CHICAGO -- A man convicted of murder who is suspected of belonging to the notorious "Ripper Crew" that killed as many as 20 Chicago-area women in the 1980s is scheduled for release from prison Friday.
Thomas Kokoraleis was sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorraine "Lorry" Ann Borowski, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty on appeal in exchange for a 70-year prison term. That deal allows for the 58-year-old inmate's release this week.
Jason Sweat, spokesman for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, said the state is legally required to release Kokoraleis because he has served the maximum possible amount of time on that sentence.
Kokoraleis was denied release in September 2017 after he failed to find an approved place to live, in violation of parole-eligibility requirements.
The former DuPage County resident is likely to be the only member of the four-man gang who will have a chance to rejoin society.
His younger brother, Andrew, was executed by lethal injection 20 years ago at age 35, prior to Illinois eliminating the death penalty. The other two have used all of their eligible appeals, although one of them will be eligible for parole if he lives to be 89.
Relatives of some of the victims' families were infuriated in late 2017 when they learned of Kokoraleis' expected release. Their efforts led to an 18-month delay of his initial parole date, but authorities said there was nothing else they could do to hold him beyond March 29.
Some family members said that while they're still disappointed, they've accepted that he will be released.
"We've exhausted everything," said Mark Borowski, who was 14 when his sister Lorry Ann was kidnapped after walking a few short blocks in broad daylight from her Elmhurst apartment to work. "There's nothing else we can do. We fought as hard as we could. I cannot even imagine someone like this could get out."
Lorry Ann Borowski's mother, Lorraine, now 83, said she never envisioned she'd see the day Kokoraleis would be released from prison.
"I thought he was going to be in prison until I died," she said.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com