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Crime & Courts

'Chicago Ripper Crew' member's release could be delayed

Thomas Kokoraleis was convicted of 1982 murder of Lorraine Borowski, 21, of Elmhurst

ELMHURST – "Chicago Ripper Crew" member Thomas Kokoraleis is scheduled to be released from prison Sept. 29 and on parole until 2020 – but his release could be delayed if the Illinois attorney general and DuPage County state's attorney take action.

Under a 1998 law called the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, the Attorney General's Office and DuPage County State's Attorney's Office have the opportunity to file a petition alleging Kokoraleis is a sexually violent person before or within 30 days of his release.

They would need to prove that Kokoraleis's 1982 murder of Lorraine "Lorry" Ann Borowski, 21, of Elmhurst was in part sexually motivated and that he is dangerous because he "suffers from a mental disorder that makes it substantially probable that [he] will engage in acts of sexual violence," the law states.

The petition would then proceed to a hearing where the court would determine if there is probable cause for finding Kokoraleis's murder of Borowski was sexually motivated. If so, the case would advance to a civil trial.

Kokoraleis would be entitled to a copy of the petition, reasonable notice of the time and location of any hearings, trial by jury, legal representation, the ability to present and cross-examine witnesses, and the ability to have the hearing recorded by a court reporter.

If the court or jury finds Kokoraleis is a sexually violent person, he would either be committed to a secure facility provided by the Department of Corrections to receive mental health treatment or be subject to conditional release, under which he would be required to receive treatment and obey a series of conditions that limit where he can go and what he can do.

Before he would be placed on conditional release, the municipal police department and county sheriff's office for where he would be residing would be notified.

If Kokoraleis is committed after such a hearing, the Department of Human Services would need to report to the court on his mental condition at least once every 12 months to determine whether he has made sufficient treatment progress to be conditionally released or his condition has changed so that he is no longer a sexually violent person.

Paul Darrah, communications manager for the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office, said in an email that his office is "working in conjunction with the Attorney General's Office," but he declined to comment further. The Illinois Attorney General's Office declined to comment.

Kokoraleis was convicted of the May 15, 1982, murder of Borowski after her abduction near a former location of RE/MAX at Route 83 and St. Charles Road in Elmhurst where she worked. Her remains were discovered Oct. 10, 1982, at the Clarendon Hills Cemetery in Darien, according to court documents. Her left breast was absent, and there was evidence that indicated trauma from an ice pick, documents state.

Kokoraleis was solely convicted of murder in Borowski's death and not rape, but the Ripper Crew was known for the abduction, rape, mutilation and murder of several women in cannibalistic rituals in the early 1980s in the Chicago area.

An Aug. 3 letter from Kokoraleis to the DuPage County Clerk of the Circuit Court's office asks the office to send paperwork to the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, where he is being held, showing a rape charge against him was dismissed in exhange for his guilty plea in Borowski's murder.

The "Ripper Crew" was made up of Kokoraleis, his brother Andrew Kokoraleis, Eddie Spreitzer and Robin Gecht. Andrew Kokoraleis was executed in March 1999. Spreitzer received a death sentence, which was commuted to life in prison by former Gov. George Ryan. Spreitzer is at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, and he is ineligible for discharge. Gecht is serving time at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, with a projected parole date of Oct. 13, 2042.

Kokoraleis was sentenced to 70 years in prison, but he was only required by law to serve 50 percent of the sentence under day-for-day sentencing, Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said.

Illinois has changed its laws on sentencing since then. The "truth-in-sentencing" law established that a prisoner convicted of terrorism or first-degree murder on or after June 19, 1998, has to serve the entire sentence imposed by the court, according to the Illinois General Assembly's webpage on the law.

Borowski's brother, Matt Borowski, has started a change.org petition to Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Attorney General's Office Bureau Chief Joelle Marasco to ask that Kokoraleis not be released on parole. There were nearly 19,000 signatures on the petition as of Aug. 17.

The Illinois Department of Corrections declined to provide the requirements of Kokoraleis's parole, including whether he would have to register as a sex offender.

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