'Ripper Crew' member released from prison this morning

  • Thomas Kokoraleis

    Thomas Kokoraleis

  • Lorry Borowski

    Lorry Borowski Associated Press

 
 

One member of the infamous "Ripper Crew," which committed a string of violent, sexually motivated murders of women in Chicago and the suburbs in the early 1980s, was released from prison this morning after completing half his 70-year sentence.

An alert from Illinois' victim notification system was issued Friday saying 58-year-old Thomas Kokoraleis had been discharged from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Andrew Kokoraleis, Thomas' brother, was convicted of the murders of Lorry Borowski of Elmhurst and Rose Davis and was sentenced to death. He was executed in 1999 before the death penalty was abolished.

Thomas Kokoraleis was convicted of Lorry Borowski's 1982 murder 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 her death.

Kokoraleis admitted to participating in Borowski's abduction. He denied he was involved in her rape and murder but admitted he was present while his brother and Spreitzer killed her.

He was sentenced to 70 years in prison. Based on Illinois laws in effect in 1986, Kokoraleis served half his sentence and was scheduled to enter mandatory supervised release in September 2017.

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His release was delayed, however, because he did not find a home that complies with Illinois' convicted sex-offender residency conditions. Without that housing, he could be detained longer only until Friday.

"Mr. Kokoraleis has reached the maximum of his sentence and, by law, must be released from state custody," Illinois Prisoner Review Board spokesman Jason Sweat said Thursday.

Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth posted on the department's Facebook page earlier this month that the department continues to monitor the remaining crew members.

"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 wrote. "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."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lorry Borowski's brother Mark Borowski and his siblings, along with their mother, Lorraine, long fought the release. Their attorney, Gloria Allred, said the family will make a statement in a news conference starting at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Hyatt Rosemont, 6350 N. River Road.

Kokoraleis will be required to register as a sex offender.

Spreitzer was convicted of the murders of Linda Sutton, Shui Mak, Rose Davis, Sandra Delaware and Raphael Tiradao and is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole. He originally was sentenced to die, but then-Gov. George Ryan in 2003 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.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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