WEST TOWN — A man whose sister was killed by members of a satanic cult is petitioning to stop the early release of one of the men.
The petition, addressed to Gov. Bruce Rauner, has more than 17,000 signatures online. Matt Borowski, a West Town resident, started it last week in a bid to stop the release of Thomas Kokoraleis 35 years after he killed Borowski's sister, Lorraine.
"It tore our family apart. She was the second-oldest sister and third-oldest kid," said Matt Borowski, who was a child when Lorraine Borowski went missing. He's now 47. "She was my favorite sister."
Authorities said Kokoraleis was part of a gang — along with his brother, Andrew — dubbed the "Ripper Crew," who kidnapped, raped, mutilated and then murdered more than a dozen women in the early '80s in and around Chicago.
The group was infamous for removing the left breast of women they kidnapped and using them in rituals, including cannibalistic ones.
Kokoraleis is set to be released on parole, but prosecutors are trying to determine if he can be kept past his parole date, according to the Tribune.
Lorraine Borowski, 21, was newly engaged and going to work in west suburban Elmhurst when she went missing in May 1982. Police found only her shoes, a key chain and makeup in the parking lot where she worked, according to reports at the time.
It was five months before Borowski's body was discovered in a cemetery.
"Not only did they kidnap her: They tortured her, ate part of her body, killed her with an ice pick," Matt Borowski said.
Thomas Kokoraleis (from left), Robin Gecht and Edward Spreitzer were all convicted in the Ripper Crew slayings. [Illinois Department of Corrections]
Cindy Arndt, a childhood friend of the victim, said that she had remained close with Borowski's mother and knew the family feared Kokoraleis would one day be released. She promised Borowski's mother, who didn't think she'd live to see Kokoraleis' parole date, to "speak up for her because Lorry couldn't any longer," Arndt wrote in an email.
Lorraine Borowski had been "kind, loving, full of life, [had an] undeniable electric energy, warm bubbly personality, a genuine smile that warmed your heart," Arndt said. "The brutality of the murderers are too sickening to even repeat in print for me. The pain and anguish they caused has had a lifetime effect on thousands of us. And they robbed us of Lorry."
Kokoraleis was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty in the rape and murder of Lorraine Borowski.
The man's attorneys had argued Kokoraleis was borderline mentally disabled and "was harassed by police and talked into making a confession with the promise that he'd only be a witness against his brother," according to Tribune archives.
Kokoraleis' conviction was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court, and he eventually pleaded guilty to slaying Borowski in return for a 70-year sentence.
After serving half that sentence, Kokoraleis is eligible for parole and is set to be released in September.
"That was his decision to become a cold, calculated, heartless murderer," Arndt wrote. "He doesn't deserve to walk among us, sit in a restaurant next to us. He doesn't deserve to work in an environment next to us, date or marry one of us. He doesn't deserve to breathe the fresh, free air.
"What about Lorraine? Doesn't she deserve another chance to have the wedding she was supposed to with her fiancé, to have the children she planned to have, the life she deserved?"
Kokoraleis' brother, Andrew, was sentenced to death for the crime. He was executed in 1999.
Two other members of the Ripper Crew, Robin Gecht and Edward Spreitzer, remain in prison after being convicted in related crimes.