CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - It will be four weeks Friday since Thomas Kokoraleis was released from prison.
He spent 35 years behind bars for murdering a 21-year-old woman while he was part of the infamous "Ripper Crew" in the 1980s.
His release and his decision to live in Aurora have been controversial, and we have a look inside the ministry where he's now living.
A third-floor dormitory of Wayside Cross Ministries is Kokoraleis' new home. The residents of the dorm are trying to overcome alcoholism, drugs, and time in prison. They must agree to do it through Christ.
“The biggest problem of any mankind is the guilt. So the question is what do you do with the guilt? The only answer to that is forgiveness,” said James Lukose.
When Kokoraleis first inquired about living here, he told the ministry he had no place else to go. He declined our request for an interview. The 110 men living at the dorm work in warehouses, do some auto detailing, or handle kitchen duties. Several told us the ministry turned their lives around.
“This is the soberest I have been since I was 14-years-old. And nothing else worked until I put it in Christ's hands,” said David Bialachowski.
“It helped me understand how to have life skills. Being incarcerated, I didn’t have any life skills coming out,” said Michael Douglas.
The constant message for all of the residents here is that Christ and the gospel provide the answers to all problems, and Lukose says Kokoraleis has accepted that message.
“He wept like a child, and he prayed to receive Christ,” Lukose said.
Protesters have complained about the ministry's taking in Kokoraleis. For now, he's not allowed to leave the premises, but that could change in three or four months.
“It's been almost a month. His growth. His demeanor. His countenance. We can see the change every day,” Lukose said.