CANTON, Ill. — A member of the infamous "Ripper Crew," which was linked to 18 sadistic, satanic murders in the early 1980s, has been released from prison, according to the IDOC notification system.
Thomas Kokoraleis, 58, was set free from the Illinois River Correctional Center in downstate Canton Friday morning, after serving half of his prison sentence. Sources tell WGN Kokoraleis will be staying at a halfway house in suburban Wheaton.
Other than registering as a sex offender with the Illinois State Police, Kokoraleis will have no other restrictions now that he's out of prison. Family members of the victims are planning to express their disappointment in the justice system at a press conference Friday.
The Elmhurst Police Department announced on Facebook earlier this month that Kokoraleis would be released from the Illinois River Correctional Center on Friday after serving half of his 70-year prison sentence for the abduction, rape and murder of 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski.
Lorry Borowski’s 83-year-old mother Lorraine said she lived in fear for decades after her daughter was kidnapped in Elmhurst nearly 40 years ago. Lorry Borowski was kidnapped outside the real estate office where she worked. She was then tortured, raped and murdered in May 1982.
Police believe Kokoraleis and his brothers, plus two other men, were responsible for the murder of up to 20 women during the 1980s.
“They thought they were all insane and I said, 'How could four guys be insane at the same time and they hung around together?' That don’t mean they are insane. They’re just evil. Evil,” Lorraine Borowski said.
Kokoraleis was charged in Lorry Borowski’s death. Initially he received a life sentence for her rape and murder, but an appellate court later reversed the rape conviction and re-sentenced him to 70 years behind bars. After he confessed to the murder, the law at the time stated he would have to serve only half of that time.
Lorraine Borowski said she's still upset, but she forgave him, because she had to. While she preaches forgiveness toward her daughter's killer, her sons Mark and Ray Borowski struggle to do the same. Their sister would have been 59 years old this year.
"It's disturbing, because it's not just us. There are other families that this affects. Not just us," Mark Borowski said. "It gets easier. You just work through it day by day. Just go on with your life, that's all."
"He took something that was very close to me," Ray Borowski said, "I live it everyday of my life. I'll never forget it. It is just like yesterday to me. I was the first one there on the scene.”
The family has previously fought against Kokoraleis' release. Even pressure from nationally-known victim's rights attorney Gloria Allred was not enough to stop his release.
Kokoraleis' brother, Andrew Kokoraleis, received the death penalty and was executed by lethal injection in 1999 before it was abolished in Illinois. Two other men connected to the murders are still behind bars, with one eligible for parole in 2042.
Due to Illinois sentencing laws at the time, Kokoraleis was eligible for day-to-day credit for good behavior.
The Kokoraleis brothers and the two other men were part of the satanic cult group known as the “Ripper Crew.” According to the Chicago Tribune, the group was known to stalk the streets of Chicago, and the suburbs, in a red van looking for women to kidnap, beat, rape, torture and kill. The Tribune said the group members would cut off their victims’ breasts as part of a cannibalistic ritual.
There was never any evidence that Kokoraleis suffered from mental health disorders, therefore he will be free to live or travel wherever he wishes.