A man who was once part of the sadistic Ripper Crew, a group believed to be behind the killings and mutilation of nearly two dozen women during the 1980s, could be paroled next month.
Thomas Kokoraleis is scheduled to be paroled Sept. 29 after serving half of his 70-year sentence, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office confirmed.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune prosecutors may try to thwart his release, but a spokesman for the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office said they could not comment on that.
The 57-year-old was convicted in the abduction, rape and stabbing of Lorraine Ann Borowski, of Elmhurst. The 21-year-old was reportedly kidnapped in 1982 outside the real estate office where she worked. She left behind her shoes, keys, purse and other belongings outside the front of the office.
She was found dead five months later in a Clarendon Hills cemetery.
Kokoraleis and his brother, who became the last person to be executed in Illinois, were part of a gang along with two other men. The group was accused of kidnapping, raping and torturing women to death as part of cannibalistic rituals, the Tribune reports. They reportedly cut off women’s breasts, many times while the victims were still alive.
Andrew Kokoraleis, Thomas’ older brother, was executed in March 1999, the last execution in Illinois before Gov. George Ryan declared a moratorium on the death penalty.
Two other members of the group, including its ringleader Robin Gecht, remain in prison.
Gecht was sentenced to 120 years in prison for the rape and mutilation of a teen prostitute, who survived and helped authorities convict him. He is scheduled for parole in 2042. Edward Spreitzer is ineligible for parole, the Tribune reports.
The younger Kokoraleis reportedly claimed his confession in Borowski’s murder was coerced and while he was present during some of the attacks, he said he didn’t rape or kill anyone. He was convicted in 1987 as part of a plea deal, which dropped charges against him in a second murder and allowed for his parole.
A Change.org petition has been started by Borowski’s brother seeking to stop Kokoraleis’ parole.
“One of the satanic group that killed my sister (and others) is getting out of jail, serving only half of his sentence,” the petition reads. It's headlined "Don't let my sisters [sic] killer be released on parole."
As of Wednesday, it had more than 18,300 of the 25,000 signatures needed to send it to Gov. Bruce Rauner.