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Crime & Courts

Attorney Gloria Allred joins effort to keep 'Chicago Ripper Crew' member in custody

ELMHURST – Gloria Allred, a renowned civil rights attorney, has joined the effort of the Borowski family to keep their loved one's murderer in custody after his projected parole date of Sept. 29.

Allred announced her new role at a news conference Sept. 6 at Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst, where Lorraine "Lorry" Borowski is buried, speaking out against "Chicago Ripper Crew" member Thomas Kokoraleis's upcoming release from Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton.

"Mark [Borowski] contacted me because he and his mother were shocked to learn that the man who murdered [his sister] Lorry Ann is scheduled to be released from prison on parole on Sept. 29, 2017, after having served only 35 years of a 70-year prison sentence," Allred said in a statement from the news conference.

Kokoraleis was sentenced to 70 years in prison, but he was only required by law to serve 50 percent of the sentence under day-for-day sentencing, Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson previously told Suburban Life.

Illinois has changed its laws on sentencing since then. The "truth-in-sentencing" law established that a prisoner convicted of terrorism or first-degree murder on or after June 19, 1998, has to serve the entire sentence imposed by the court, according to the Illinois General Assembly's webpage on the law.

Under a 1998 law called the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, the Illinois Attorney General's Office and DuPage County State's Attorney's Office have the opportunity to file a petition alleging Kokoraleis is a sexually violent person before or within 30 days of his release.

They would need to prove that Kokoraleis's 1982 murder of Borowski, 21, of Elmhurst was in part sexually motivated and that he is dangerous because he "suffers from a mental disorder that makes it substantially probable that [he] will engage in acts of sexual violence," the law states.

Kokoraleis was convicted of the May 15, 1982, murder of Borowski after her abduction near a former location of RE/MAX at Route 83 and St. Charles Road in Elmhurst where she worked. Her remains were discovered Oct. 10, 1982, at the Clarendon Hills Cemetery in Darien, according to court documents. Her left breast was absent, and there was evidence that indicated trauma from an ice pick, documents state.

Kokoraleis ultimately was convicted of murder in Borowski's death and not rape, but the Ripper Crew was known for the abduction, rape, mutilation and murder of several women in cannibalistic rituals in the early 1980s in the Chicago area.

"The only legal path open at this time appears to be possible civil commitment of this convicted murderer [under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act]. ....This morning I spoke to the state’s attorney, Robert Berlin. My feeling is that he and the attorney general are doing everything possible to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to file a petition for a civil commitment hearing," Allred said in the statement.

Liz Suriano, a friend of Borowski's, said in a statement from the news conference that the prospect of Kokoraleis's release from prison "scares the hell out of all of us."

"I think Gloria Allred understands the pain that this serial killer has put us through, pain that hasn't diminished over 35 years, and anxiety that increases each day that we get closer to the release date of her killer," Suriano said. "Maybe Gloria can help us share our fondest memories of Lorry and someday keep serial killers like Thomas Kokoraleis behind bars forever."

The Ripper Crew was made up of Kokoraleis, his brother Andrew Kokoraleis, Eddie Spreitzer and Robin Gecht. Andrew Kokoraleis was executed in March 1999. Spreitzer received a death sentence, which was commuted to life in prison by former Gov. George Ryan. Spreitzer is at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, and he is ineligible for discharge. Gecht is serving time at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, with a projected parole date of Oct. 13, 2042.

Borowski's brother, Matt Borowski, has started a petition to Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Attorney General's Office Bureau Chief Joelle Marasco to ask that Kokoraleis not be released on parole. There were more than 21,200 signatures on the petition as of Sept. 6.

Allred is the founder and president of the Women's Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund. She has represented clients involved in high-profile cases, including the Scott Peterson murder trial, where she represented witness Amber Frey, and O.J. Simpson murder trial, where she represented the family of victim Nicole Brown Simpson.

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