Chicago (CBS) — After serving more than 36 years in prison for a grisly 1982 murder, 58-year-old Thomas Kokoraleis has been released from prison. Prosecutors failed to convince the courts to have him committed indefinitely as a sexually violent person.
Here are five fast facts about Thomas Kokoraleis:
He was convicted of killing 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski as a member of the sadistic cult group called the “Ripper Crew”, which is believed to be responsible for the brutal sexual assaults and murders of up to 20 women.
He originally was sentenced to life in prison for Borowski’s murder. She was abducted on her way to work at a real estate office and her body was later found in a cemetery.
An appeals court granted Kokoraleis a new trial, and prosecutors later allowed him 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. State law, at the time, allowed inmates to accrue one day of “good time” for every day served, potentially cutting sentences in half.
He was held at the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, about 30 miles west of Peoria.
The facility is a medium security penitentiary for adult men with a population of about 1,900. A report in the 2016 fiscal year found the average annual cost of housing an inmate there is $15,796.
He was nearly released in 2017.
Kokoraleis’ was scheduled to be released on parole after serving 35 years, 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’ brother was also a member of the “Ripper Crew” and was the last execution in Illinois.
Andrew Kokoraleis and and two others were convicted in the killings. Andrew was executed on March 7, 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.
During his execution, Andrew Kokoraleis, who was 35 at the time, sighed three times, licked his lips and appeared to be speaking quietly to himself before he died.
Thomas Kokoraleis cannot be executed because former Gov. Pat Quinn outlawed the death penalty in Illinois in 2011.
Quinn also commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life in prison. “This is the most difficult decision that I have made as governor,” Quinn said at the time. “I studied everything to the best of my ability and followed my conscience.”