U.S. v. Director of Ill. Dept. of Corrections, No. 95 C 3913.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtZagel
Citation963 F.Supp. 1473
Docket NumberNo. 95 C 3913.
Decision Date02 May 1997
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, ex rel. Andrew KOKORALEIS, Petitioner, v. The DIRECTOR OF the ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and Jim Ryan, Illinois Attorney General, Respondent.
963 F.Supp. 1473
UNITED STATES of America, ex rel. Andrew KOKORALEIS, Petitioner,
v.
The DIRECTOR OF the ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and Jim Ryan, Illinois Attorney General, Respondent.
No. 95 C 3913.
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.
May 2, 1997.

Page 1474

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1475

Alan Michael Freedman, Freedman & Bornstein, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff.

Arleen C. Anderson, Atty. General's Office, Chicago, IL, for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ZAGEL, District Judge.


Andrew Kokoraleis is under sentence of death for murder and another sentence of 30 years for aggravated kidnaping, both received in the Circuit Court of DuPage County. Before he came to trial in DuPage County, he had received a sentence of life without parole in Cook County, this sentence for a different murder. Essentially prosecutors have portrayed Kokoraleis as one of three serial killers who perpetrated horrifying crimes against women. The petitioner has always maintained that he is not guilty of any such crimes and that his confessions to them were false. By their verdict the jury implicitly accepted the serial killer characterization.

On May 15, 1982, a 21-year-old secretary in a real estate office, Lori Borowski, disappeared between the time she left for work, about 8:15 a.m., and the time she was supposed to arrive. Her employer found her shoes and keys on the pavement in front of her office. He also found cosmetics, coins and a nutdriver, a hand tool. An owner of a nearby store reported that he saw nothing on the pavement when he was there at 7:50 a.m., but he did see a reddish-orange van parked in the normally empty lot. He said the van was similar to one which police later found being driven by Edward Spreitzer and belonging to Robin Gecht.

On October 10, 1982, Lori Borowski's remains were discovered in an unused portion of a cemetery. The clothing was the same that she was wearing on May 15. Her blouse was up around her armpits and her bra had been lowered. Her purse was found a few yards away and jewelry was found about her remains. Some of her flesh was intact but her left nipple was missing. An anthropologist attributed the absence of the nipple to decomposition, insects, animals, or amputation. He found bone injuries in the front of the upper chest, these consistent with stab wounds from a sharp instrument like an ice pick. He found frontal wounds on two lower vertebrae, cause unknown, and three more wounds to the back, causable by knife or ice pick. Her nasal bone had been fractured.

Ten days later the police stopped a reddish-orange van described by a crime victim. In it was Edward Spreitzer along with three knives. The interior handle on the back door was missing; it could be opened only by using a tool like a nutdriver.

After several more days, the police arrested Robin Gecht, the car owner, and then Spreitzer whose statements in turn led the officers to Kokoraleis who, over a two-day period, confessed to the murder of Lori Borowski and several more women.

When shown three photographs of Lori Borowski, the petitioner said, "This is the girl that Eddie Spreitzer and I killed in the cemetery." He told DuPage police that he and Spreitzer were driving in Gecht's van one morning, entered a lot, saw her, forced her into a van, drove to the cemetery, and beat and stabbed her. When she was dead they dragged her body into some weeds. He wrote out a confession in his own hand.

In all, Kokoraleis talked to police from DuPage County and from the City of Chicago, and to Assistant State's Attorney (now Judge) Robert Bastone and spoke of the murders of other women.

About Linda Sutton, age 26, Kokoraleis said that he and Gecht were driving in the Rush Street area of Chicago when Gecht talked with a woman who then encountered the van. They drove to a motel in Villa Park where they found Spreitzer. The woman refused to leave the van. At Gecht's request, he and Spreitzer pulled her from the van, Gecht struck her several times and, with Spreitzer's help, dragged her to a field behind the motel. Kokoraleis watched Gecht pull down the woman's slacks and Spreitzer hold her arms while Gecht raped her. Gecht

Page 1476

then took his hatchet and hit her three or four times in the face. Over the course of three statements, he added that Gecht had struck the victim, stabbed her and amputated a breast with some piano wire. The autopsy generally confirmed the manner of death as Kokoraleis described it including the breast amputation. He recalled the murder as occurring in spring or early summer of 1981; the body was found on June 1, 1981 in a field near the motel. Her hands were cuffed behind her back; her slacks and underpants had been pulled down and her sweater and bra had been pulled up.

About Shui Mak, aged 30, Kokoraleis said that he and Spreitzer saw an oriental woman walking alone. They offered her a ride, she accepted. But when they stopped in a field where new houses were being built and Spreitzer told her to get out she refused, so he and Spreitzer pulled her out. Spreitzer hit her several times, she fell and they dragged her a short distance. Spreitzer stabbed her three or four times with a kitchen knife. Kokoraleis became ill and went back to the van. This occurred in late May or early June 1982. Other evidence showed that Mak disappeared on May 30. Her remains were found on September 30 in a wooded area near a new housing development. She was clothed but her sweater and her slacks zipper were both torn. There were multiple fractures, some attributed to blunt trauma and others from unknown causes; stabbing was a possible cause of rib injuries.

The defense was that the confessions were coerced. Kokoraleis said he worked for Robin Gecht from mid-1981 until May 1982. He had met Spreitzer before that period. He took part in no murders and the confessions were coerced from him. He testified that he also told police that he was involved in the murder of Lorraine Bieze. A police officer was then called to testify that he believed petitioner did not commit the Bieze murder. A store manager at the plaza where Lori Borowski was abducted said that on the morning of her disappearance he saw a woman and a man fighting near a silver or gray car parked close to the office where Borowski worked. Another person at the shopping plaza that morning noticed a silver or off-white car leaving the lot on that same morning, and he identified Spreitzer as the angry driver of the car. A third witness said that she saw a woman whom she identified, from a picture, as Lori Borowski, alive and well two weeks after her disappearance. Kokoraleis' brother and sister testified that they went with their brother to visit their mother's grave on May 24, the day after Linda Sutton's disappearance. His sister said she had seen him on May 23 at 4 or 6 in the afternoon and then again at 9 or 9:30 the next morning. She noticed nothing unusual about him that day.

During the cross-examination of Kokoraleis, he admitted that he told the police of his participation in 16 different murders and that he did so prior to the time he claimed he was beaten by police officers. On direct examination, he had testified that police struck him to force him to make an untrue confession to the murder of Rose Beck Davis. On cross examination, he was asked about the presence of an assistant state's attorney when he made that confession and whether the assistant had told him what to say. In the course of this inquiry on cross-examination, the contents of that confession were disclosed, i.e., that he, Gecht and Spreitzer abducted the woman from a Chicago street, took her to a nearby gangway, beat, raped and stabbed her and violated her with an ax handle.

The jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge of murdering Lori Borowski.

At the sentencing hearing the prosecution proved the defendant's age and the fact of his conviction of the Davis murder and of the convictions for murder and kidnaping just rendered by the jury, all to establish death penalty eligibility. At the next stage, the prosecution proved more of the details of Rose Beck Davis' murder. She was found in a gangway. A ligature was fixed tightly on her neck and one of her arms, her sweater raised and her bra ripped off, slash wounds were on her breasts, her slacks and underpants were around her ankles, her face was blood covered and there was more blood in the vaginal area. The pathologist found blunt trauma injury to her face and her nose was badly broken. There were contusions in

Page 1477

several places on her body and a four inch long piece of wood was found in her vagina, it had perforated the vagina and entered the abdominal cavity. Kokoraleis' confession to the crime was proved as well. He said that he and Spreitzer seized the woman who was walking on the street, forced her into the van where he put handcuffs on her while Spreitzer gagged her. At the gangway, Gecht hit her in the face while he pulled her slacks down. Gecht raped her and later struck her in the face with a hatchet and forced the handle of the hatchet into her vagina. Acting at Gecht's direction, Kokoraleis took a knife and "poked at her midsection three or four times." He dropped the knife and fell against a wall of a building. Eventually they went back to the van and drove off.

The mitigation witnesses were a chaplain at the Cook County jail who knew Kokoraleis during the two years petitioner was in that jail. He found petitioner to be helpful and unthreatening and rehabilitable. A religious counselor at the DuPage County jail knew petitioner for a year and found him unthreatening and believed he was not a danger to society. The mother of someone who Kokoraleis dated said that her daughter had run away from home and petitioner had persuaded her to return home. She visited Kokoraleis at both jails. He had corresponded with her daughter while he was in jail. Kokoraleis testified that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 practice notes
  • U.S. ex rel. Jackson v. Page, No. 96 C 4945.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • July 31, 1997
    ...beyond a reasonable doubt does not automatically raise a federal Jackson v. Virginia claim. U.S. ex rel. Kokoraleis v. Director of IDOC, 963 F.Supp. 1473, 1482 n. 1 (N.D.Ill.1997); see Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6, 103 S.Ct. 276, 277, 74 L.Ed.2d 3 (1982) (per curiam) (raising a state ......
  • Kokoraleis v. Gilmore, No. 97-2605
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 12, 1998
    ...202 (1989), and rejected a collateral attack, 159 Ill.2d 325, 202 Ill.Dec. 279, 637 N.E.2d 1015 (1994), as did the district court, 963 F.Supp. 1473 (N.D.Ill.1997). * Kokoraleis presents three arguments to us: that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing; that another jur......
2 cases
  • U.S. ex rel. Jackson v. Page, No. 96 C 4945.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • July 31, 1997
    ...beyond a reasonable doubt does not automatically raise a federal Jackson v. Virginia claim. U.S. ex rel. Kokoraleis v. Director of IDOC, 963 F.Supp. 1473, 1482 n. 1 (N.D.Ill.1997); see Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6, 103 S.Ct. 276, 277, 74 L.Ed.2d 3 (1982) (per curiam) (raising a state ......
  • Kokoraleis v. Gilmore, No. 97-2605
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 12, 1998
    ...202 (1989), and rejected a collateral attack, 159 Ill.2d 325, 202 Ill.Dec. 279, 637 N.E.2d 1015 (1994), as did the district court, 963 F.Supp. 1473 (N.D.Ill.1997). * Kokoraleis presents three arguments to us: that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing; that another jur......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT