In the early 1980s, a small devil-worshipping cult consisting of four young men terrorized the Chicago area, abducting, mutilating, and murdering young women. They were known as the Ripper Crew.
Whether there is any connection between Gacy’s crimes and the eventual murders of Gecht and the Ripper Crew is up for debate, but the connection is an interesting one, to say the least. Robin Gecht was born in 1953, and was the oldest member of the group that eventually became the Ripper Crew. The crew was rounded out by Edward Spreitzer and the Kokoraleis brothers, Andrew and Thomas.
The foursome practiced Satanic rituals at the motel where they lived in adjoining rooms, and eventually their fascination with the dark side led them to murder. The Ripper Crew got a van and cruised the Chicago area, looking for women.
Their first victim was abducted on May 23, 1981. Linda Sutton, 28, disappeared while taking a walk. Ten days later, her body was discovered in a field in the suburb of Villa Park, her left breast amputated. Sutton’s body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that police at first thought she had been dead for quite a while. Later, when the coroner examined body, it was discovered she had only died three days before – she had been stabbed so many times that she was decomposing much quicker than usual.
The Ripper Crew waited a full year to strike again. In May 1982, Lorraine Borowski was snatched while she opened the real estate office she worked at. Two weeks later, Shui Mak disappeared from the suburb of Hanover Park. The bodies of both women weren’t found until the fall.
In the meantime, police discovered the bodies of more women throughout the Chicago area. The victims had been brutalized and all of them had one thing in common: their left breasts had been amputated or slashed viciously. Investigators were dumbfounded and had no leads…until October 6, 1982. That day, a woman named Beverly Washington was found beside a set of railroad tracks. Washington had been brutally attacked and her left breast was severed – but she was alive and able to give police a description of the men who attacked her and the van they drove.
Two weeks after the attack on Washington, 28-year-old Robin Gecht was arrested for the crime. When police questioned the manager of the motel where Gecht lived in Villa Park, he remembered that Gecht and three other men who had previously lived at the motel hosted many parties, and that he believed they may have been “some kind of cultists.”
The Kokoraleis brothers left a forwarding address when they moved out of the motel, and police decided to pay them a visit. Thomas was brought in for questioning, and he promptly failed a polygraph exam. Thomas quickly cracked under pressure and told police all the sordid details of the Ripper Crew’s exploits.
The crew had abducted many women, taken them to Gecht’s apartment and his rented motel room, and performed unspeakable acts on them. Gecht had a Satanic chapel in a room at his apartment, and there some of the victims were raped, tortured, and finally sacrificed to Satan. Their left breasts were severed as part of a ritual, and Gecht kept the body parts as sick souvenirs in a box. Thomas Kokoraleis told police he saw as many as 15 severed breasts in Gecht’s box of horrors.
The police arrested Andrew Kokoraleis and Edward Spreitzer, the two other members of the crew. It is believed the foursome may have been responsible for as many as 18 murders in the Chicago area. The Chicago Tribune referred to Robin Gecht as a “Manson-like mastermind” after his arrest, believing that the eldest member of the group held a hypnotic power over his younger followers.
Gecht, the Kokoraleis brothers and Edward Spreitzer all stood trial for a number of crimes related to the Ripper Crew’s brutal escapades. Incredibly, there wasn’t enough evidence to conivct Robin Gecht with murder, and he was instead charged with rape and attempted murder. Gecht received a 120-year sentence. Thomas Kokoraleis received a life sentence because he cooperated with police. Andrew Kokoraleis and Edward Spreitzer were given death sentences. Andrew Kokoraleis was executed in 1999. Spreitzer was still on Death Row in 2011 when Governor Pat Quinn commuted the sentences of all condemned men in Illinois. As a result, Spreitzer is now serving a life sentence without parole.
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