DuPage prosecutors: We can't keep Ripper Crew killer in prison
Thomas Kokoraleis has spent 35 years behind bars as one of the infamous Ripper Crew members who committed a string of violent, sexually motivated murders of women in Chicago and the suburbs.
But now authorities say they're out of options in their quest to keep him in prison.
DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin on Friday said he will not proceed with efforts to have Kokoraleis committed as a sexually violent person.
The Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a person suffers from a mental disorder and that the mental disorder makes them dangerous in a way that makes it "substantially probable" they will commit acts of sexual violence.
"My office, along with the Illinois Attorney General's office, has worked closely with experts to determine whether it is legally possible for the state to prove to a court that Kokoraleis meets the requirements to be found a sexually violent person in order to be civilly committed after he has served his criminal sentence," Berlin said in a written statement. "After evaluations by highly experienced psychiatrists and psychologists found Kokoraleis does not meet the necessary criteria, we are unable to ethically bring a petition to find that he is sexually violent under Illinois law."
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 denied he was involved in either the rape or murder.
He 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 on Sept. 29.
His release was delayed, however, because he has yet to find a home that complies with Illinois' convicted sex-offender residency conditions.
"Unless he finds IDOC-approved housing, Kokoraleis will remain in the Illinois Department of Corrections until at least March 30, 2019," Paul Darrah, spokesman for Berlin's office, said Friday.
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.
Lorry Borowski's brother, Mark Borowski, issued a statement Friday thanking Berlin and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan "for their hard work and dedication to my sister's case."
Mark Borowski said he believes Berlin and Madigan would have filed a petition to civilly commit Kokoraleis if they had sufficient evidence.
"Of course, my mom and I are very upset and disappointed that the hearing will not take place to seek to have Mr. Kokoraleis civilly committed," Mark Borowski said, "but that is a decision over which we have no control."
He said the family hopes Kokoraleis will not be able to find approved housing and remain in custody.
"Our concern is the safety of women," he said. "We can't bring our beloved Lorry back from the grave, but we want to keep other people's daughters, mothers and sisters safe from any risk of harm from sexual predators and murderers."