A member of "The Ripper Crew" - a sadistic cult that stalked the streets of Chicago in a reddish-orange van in the 1980s looking for women to abduct, torture, mutilate and kill - was released Friday from an Illinois prison after serving only 35 years of a 70-year sentence.
Thomas Kokoraleis, now 58, is one of four men accused of being part of a satanic cult responsible for the sex slayings of up to 20 women as well as the fatal shooting of a man.
Kokoraleis was convicted in the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorraine "Lorry" Ann Borowski. A judge sentenced him to life in prison, rejecting prosecutors' request for the death penalty. But a state appeals court reversed the conviction in 1986, citing legal errors.
The court ordered a new trial, and Kokoraleis pleaded guilty in exchange for a 70-year prison term.
An alert from Illinois' victim notification system was issued at 6:22 a.m. Friday noting Kokoraleis had been released. His whereabouts weren't immediately known but he has three days to register at a new address. According to the state, his address will become public record as part of Illinois' sex offender registry.
The Chicago Tribune reported Kokoraleis plans to live at a Christian-bsed facility in the Wheaton area.
Kokoraleis had been held at the medium security Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, about 30 miles west of Peoria in central Illinois.
Kokoraleis's younger brother Andrew was executed by lethal injection on March 17,1999 at the age of 35. He was the last inmate to be executed by the state.
The other two defendants in the case have exhausted their appeals though one will be eligible for parole when he is 89 years old.
Mark Borowski, the brother of Lorry Ann Borowski who was abducted after walking a few blocks in broad daylight from her apartment to work told The Chicago Tribune: “There’s nothing else we can do. We fought as hard as we could. I cannot even imagine someone like this could get out.”
Psychiatrists and psychologists who have worked with Kokoraleis say he's not sexually violent and have painted him as a hapless follower with a low IQ who put himself in the police investigation to help his brother.
“There’s nothing else we can do. We fought as hard as we could. I cannot even imagine someone like this could get out.”
Police and prosecutors refute the idea and say Kokoraleis is a dangerous man who admitted in detail to being present during three attacks, including the one against Borowski. At trial, Kokoraleis claimed he made up the details in his taped confession but prosecutors claimed he wasn't smart enough to memorize the details if he had not actually been present.
Jason Sweat, spokesman for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, said the state was legally required to release Kokoraleis because he had served the maximum possible amount of time on his sentence. Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lindsey Hess said Friday Kokoraleis is no longer under the agency's supervision.
Kokoraleis won't have to follow typical parole conditions because he completed the mandatory supervised release period while in prison.
Relatives of some victims fought back in when they learned in late 2017 of Kokoraleis' expected release. Their efforts led to an 18-month delay of his initial parole date.
Attorney Gloria Allred said in a news release that victim relatives planned a Friday afternoon news conference at a suburban Chicago hotel to speak about Kokoraleis' release.
The Ripper Crew terrorized the city and its suburbs in the 1980s.
Their first victim is believed to be Linda Sutton, a 26-year-old mother of two who was abducted on May 23,1981. Her battered body was found a week later outside a motel.
Next came Borowski, a pretty 21-year-old who had been sexually mutilated. Police found her decomposed remains on Oct. 10, 1982.
Thirty-year-old Shui Mak disappeared from Hanover Park on May 29, 1982. Mak and her brother were having an argument in their car while driving home from their family's restaurant. Mak got out of the car and vanished. Her remains were found four months later.
As the months rolled on, the group got more sadistic in nature.
On Aug. 28, 1982, 18-year-old Sandra Delaware was raped, stabbed and strangled in the city.
A month later, police found Rose Beck Davis's body in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. She had been abducted, raped, beaten with an ax and stabbed to death.
The notorious foursome would go on to hunt down, hurt and kill several others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.