CHICAGO (CBS) — After serving more than 36 years in prison for the grisly 1982 murder of Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski, 58-year-old Thomas Kokoraleis has been released from prison, after prosecutors failed to convince the courts to have him committed indefinitely as a sexually violent person.
A member of the sadistic cult group called the “Ripper Crew,” believed to be responsible for a string of brutal sexual assaults and murders of up to 20 women, Kokoraleis must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and also will be listed on the Illinois State Police murderer registry.
Borowski was reported missing in 1982, after never showing up for work, but it was later learned she had been abducted while opening her real estate office, and killed a short time later.
Kokoraleis served more than 36 years behind bars before he was released from the Illinois River Correctional Center on Friday morning.
“Thomas Kokoraleis was released from Illinois Department of Corrections custody this morning. Kokoraleis completed his maximum sentence required by law and is no longer under IDOC supervision,” IDOC spokeswoman Lindsey Hess stated in an email.
He originally was sentenced to life in prison for Borowski’s murder, but an appeals court granted him a new trial, and prosecutors later allowed Kokoraleis to plead guilty in exchange for a 70-year sentence.
Under old Illinois sentencing guidelines, he was eligible for parole after serving only half his sentence.
He was nearly released in 2017, but his release was delayed because he did not have an approved place to live at the time. Prosecutors tried to see if they could have Kokoraleis committed as a sexually violent person, but later said they could not determine beyond a reasonable doubt that he suffers from a mental disorder that would allow the state to hold him beyond his parole date.
Kokoraleis was one of four Ripper Crew members accused of abducting, raping, torturing, mutilating, and killing up to 20 women in the early 1980s in Chicago and the suburbs.
Two others were convicted in the killings, including Kokoraleis’ brother, Andrew, who was executed in 1999 — the last execution in Illinois before the state put a moratorium on the death penalty. A fourth man was sentenced to 120 years for raping and mutilating a teenager and remains in prison.