Crime Life

The Chicago Rippers

(Robin Gecht, Ed Spreitzer, Andrew Kokoraleis, and Tommy Kokoraleis)

Chicago Rippers
Robin Gecht, Edward Sprietzer, and Andrew Kokoraleis (missing Tommy Kokoraleis)

Tommy Kokoraleis

Andrew Kokoraleis

Robin Gecht

Robin Gecht
In 1981 and 1982 Chicago was besieged with a string of gruesome killings that began with Linda Sutton, 28, being raped and stabbed to death on May 23. Her corpse was found ten days later in Villa Park, her left breast missing. In May of 1982 Lorraine Burrowski and Shui Mak were abducted, their bodies not recovered until that fall. Next was Angel York, who survived an attack on June 13. Not as fortunate was Sondra Delaware who was found strangled on a river bank with her left breast missing on August 28. Rose Davis suffered a similar fate and was found in an alleyway on September 8. The slayings continued with Carol Pappas, wife of a Chicago Cubs player, who was abducted on September 11 while shopping and never seen again.

The unknown killers made their telling mistake on October 6 when Beverly Washington, a twenty-year-old prostitute, was found near death alongside some railroad tracks. Despite being raped, slashed, and having her left breast severed, Washington survived to give a fair description of her attacker and the van she was taken in. This info soon led to a group of men who had once lived together at a motel near the dump sites of Sutton and Burrowski. They were Robin Gecht, Ed Spreitzer, and brothers Andrew and Tommy Kokoraleis. Gecht, who had once worked for John Gacy, was identified as Washington's attacker and evidently the leader of the murderous gang.

It wasn't long before the Kokoraleis brothers and Spreitzer made confessions, including the gory revelation that the four had cannibalized their victim's amputated breasts before Gecht placed them in a "trophy case", but Gecht himself has always claimed innocence. All four were eventually convicted at several seperate trials. Gecht's tight-lipped strategy was rewarded when authorities could only manage to give him 120 years for Washington's attack. Thomas Kokoraleis used his helpfulness and a technicality to barter his sentence down to seventy years for his role in Borowski's slaying. Meanwhile his brother Andrew and Spreitzer were both sentenced to death for the roles in the murders. Andrew Kokoraleis was subsequently executed on March 17, 1999. All told the Chicago Rippers are believed to have killed as many as eighteen women.

1/14/2003-Spreitzer is one of the many death row inmates to benefit from Illinois Governor George Ryan reducing all death row inmates' sentences. Spreitzer, like most of the formerly condemned men, recieved a new sentence of life without the possiblitly of parole. Ironically, when Governor Ryan suspended all Illinois executions in 1999, he made one exception. Who was the one last prisoner he allowed to be executed? Andrew Kokoraleis.