If you remember back to the 1980s, there was widespread fear that Satanists were stealing babies, harming women, and otherwise committing mayhem against the nuclear family, God, and the American people. While many of the fears proved groundless hysteria, they were based, as most fears are, on isolated events that shocked the cultural morals of everyday people. One of these Satanic Panic events happened right here in Chicago and now, the killer is being paroled after nearly 35 years in prison.
Thomas Kokoraleis was a member of the Ripper Crew that kidnapped, raped, mutilated, and murdered over 20 women across the Chicago area. As a condition of his parole, however, he has to find a place to live. This can prove troublesome for a man who was convicted of kidnapping young women in their early 20s and then murdering them after raping them. The bodies that police found were sadistically mutilated. When he does find a place to live, he will have to register as a convicted sex offender and alert local authorities to his whereabouts. He will also likely be a prime suspect if any women turn up missing. His will be the first door that they knock on.
The Chicago Ripper Crew
The Ripper Crew was active in the early 80s and is believed to be responsible for over 20 sadistic murders. However, the gang’s ringleader, Robin Gecht, was never charged with murder. Instead, he was forced to serve a 120-year sentence for the mutilation of a prostitute. Gecht once worked for John Wayne Gacy for whom he worked as a construction subcontractor. There is, however, no known connection between Gacy and Gecht.
Gecht preferred women to young boys and, with the help of associates Edward Spreitzer and two brothers (Andrew and Thomas Kokoraleis) terrorized Chicago in 1981 and 1982. According to police, they drove around in a van hunting for young prostitutes who they would pick up and dismember. Also according to police, they were fans of the Satanic Bible authored by Anton LaVey which nowhere condones the murder or cannibalizing of young women. The gang was said to consume the breast of their victims and violate the wound left behind.
Spreitzer and Thomas’s brother, Andrew were both sentenced to death. Andrew was executed for the murder of Lorraine Borowski, a secretary at a real estate firm. Borowski had been abducted on her way to work.
Thomas Provides Evidence to the Prosecution
Thomas Kokoraleis was able to barter his way to down to a 70-year sentence by providing information on his brother. The original conviction which resulted in a life sentence overturned due to a technical error in the original trial. Kokoraleis eventually was offered a lighter sentence when he identified a Satanic chapel in Gecht’s attic that led prosecutors to make a case against the gang’s ringleader.
To date, these murders represent one of the darkest eras in Chicago’s history and one of the most sensationalized murder trials of all time.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with a crime in the Chicago area, David Freidberg Attorney at Law can represent you at trial and throughout the investigation, protecting your rights to due process and a fair trial. Call our office at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment today.
(image courtesy of Tertia van Rensburg)