He can’t forget he once had a sister, a beautiful, vivacious young woman who made friends wherever she went. He can’t forgive the men who plucked her off a street, raped, mutilated and murdered her on May 15, 1982.
One of her killers — Thomas Kokoraleis — is up for parole at the end of this month. Borowski, along with other family members and friends, do not want to see him go free.
Lorraine Borowski, 21, was killed by a pack of monsters known as the Ripper Crew, four men who murdered at least 18 women in and around Chicago. They started in the spring of 1981 and kept going until October 6, 1982, when one victim, Beverly Washington, 20, gave police just what was needed to stop them — a witness.
An old man found her in a pile of garbage, near death with both breasts sliced off. A day later, as she fought for her life, she gave police details about her assailant, wrote Jaye Slade Fletcher in “Deadly Thrills.”
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Unable to speak, the young woman communicated by blinking and writing on a pad, telling detectives that her attacker was white, and had a mustache and greasy brown hair. Most significantly, she offered information about what he was driving — a red van with tinted windows and a roach clip with a blue and white feather dangling from the rearview mirror.
Within two weeks, police spotted the van. Behind the wheel was a jittery young man, 21-year-old Edward Spreitzer, who said the van belonged to his boss, Robin Gecht, 28, an electrical contractor and handyman.
Washington picked Gecht out of a lineup that was conducted while she was hooked up to tubes and IV lines in the hospital.
During questioning, Gecht didn’t reveal much, but Spreitzer was a fountain of disgusting details. He told about how he and his boss had been driving around looking for ways to amuse themselves in the hours before Washington’s assault.
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Their first stop: A Chicago street corner where three men were standing and talking. Spreitzer said they shot at the men from the rolling van, killing one.
He said they then picked up Washington — a prostitute — and drugged her, sliced off her breasts with piano wire, and performed acts of unspeakable depravity before leaving her for dead on a trash heap.
Spreitzer talked about other killings, connecting him and Gecht to a string of unsolved cases. Police believed their first victim was another prostitute, Linda Sutton, 26, whose mutilated corpse was found behind a hotel in June 1981.
In his lengthy confession, Spreitzer also named an accomplice, 20-year-old Andrew Kokoraleis, one of six children of a widowed butcher. Kokoraleis’ older brother Thomas, 22, would later also be implicated in the crimes.
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Police brought Andy in for questioning and told him that Spreitzer had blabbed about the women.
“All 18 of them?” was his response.
Some were prostitutes. Others were ordinary women in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as the cocktail waitress who ran out of gas while driving home and a girl who had an argument with her brother and got out of his car. The bodies bore the gang’s signature — mutilated or missing breasts.
Borowski, 21, known to friends as Lorry Ann, was starting her Saturday morning routine, opening the real estate office where she worked in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst on May 15. She was gone, and the doors still locked, when her boss showed up a short time later.
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The only sign that Lorry had been there were keys, some cosmetics, and a pair of women’s shoes scattered on the ground.
Police found her remains in a cemetery in October.
Interviews with Spreitzer and the Kokoraleis brothers left no doubt that Borowski was among their victims. In addition to details of the killings, Tom Kokoraleis offered a harrowing view into the quartet’s unholy rituals.
In the attic of the home Gecht shared with his wife and three children, Kokoraleis said the group would regularly conduct “ceremonies,” which included eating the breasts of the murdered women.
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Gecht, who some reports say once worked for the construction company owned by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, appeared to be the ringleader and the other men seemed terrified in his presence.
After his 1985 trial, Andrew Kokoraleis was convicted of the murders of two women, Rose Beck Davis and Borowski. He died by lethal injection in 1999, the last execution in Illinois. Spreitzer pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and was also sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in 2003.
Washington’s testimony, as well as grisly evidence from the attic, led to Gecht’s conviction for attempted murder, rape and a slew of other charges, sending him away for 120 years. Gecht will become eligible for parole in 2042.
Thomas Kokoraleis was convicted of Borowski’s murder and sentenced to 70 years. Illinois law requires he serve only half, giving him a release date of Sept. 29, 2017.
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Meanwhile, the Borowski family is trying to prevent Lorry’s killer from ever getting out of the pen.
Her brother Mark, 14 at the time of his sister’s death, has conducted news interviews reminding the public of the horrors his sister endured in her final moments.
There are Facebook pages and a Change.org petition, started by another brother, Matt, devoted to keeping Kokoraleis where he is.
As of late August, the petition had about 21,000 signatures.
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