Victim Studies 011: Robin Gechton February 8, 2012 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by Heather Whitney
Robin Gecht was not found guilty of committing any murders, but was found guilty of attempted murder, rape, deviate sexual assault, aggravated battery and armed violence in the United States. Although Gecht was not charged with murder, he is suspected have murdered at least 7 people and to have been the leader of a gang, The Chicago Rippers, which is thought to have murdered over 18 people. Gecht denied being involved in any of the murders, despite all of the testimonies from the other members of his gang. Gecht’s murder series is believed to have spanned from May of 1981, at the age of 28, until October of 1982.
Many experts claim that Robin Gecht’s perversion began at a very young age. Gecht is believed to have molested his sister in his teens. Gecht’s parents then sent him away to live with his grandparents out of fear that he would continue to harm his sister. Gecht became heavily obsessed with Satanism, which caused him to often read out of Bibles and Satanic Bibles.
It is believed by many people that Gecht was very charismatic; he could draw in a crowd and convince others to do his bidding. Some people claimed that they would avoid making eye contact with Gecht out of fear that he would convince them to do something evil. It was through this persuasion that Gecht was able to create The Chicago Rippers. This gang consisted of Gecht and 3 other men: Edward Speitzer, Andrew Kokoraleis and Thomas Kokoraleis. Gecht is considered to be like Charles Manson and many other group serial killers who persuade others into murdering for him. Usually, in this type of group, each member does something to add to the enjoyment of the murder for the others. In these groups the individual members of the group would not necessarily commit murder on their own, instead they need the support of the group or other people who have similar thoughts and fantasies. As with many cults and gangs, there is always one individual who is control of the group, in this case it was Gecht.
One of the things, which brought the members of the group together, was when Gecht would read passages from the Bible. Gecht believed in Satanism and convinced others to partake in different rituals to prove their belief as well. The Chicago Rippers thought Gecht had connection with the dark one, which allowed Gecht to communicate with evil itself. This imaginary communication caused the group members to not only respect Gecht, but to also fear him and his dark powers.
Nearly all the victims that Gecht has been accused of murdering were young to middle aged females. Unlike some serial killers, Gecht and his gang did not only murder prostitutes, but instead the victims were chosen at random. Gecht and his gang did not care what race of women they would murder. When a potential victim was found they were usually thrown into the back of a van and bound. Some of the women were forced to take drugs in order to endure the torture that would occur later. The victims were strangled or beaten to death, but some may have bled to death due to their wounds. These murders took place with the intention of murder, not robbery. All of the victims were found with their valuables and cash intact.
All the members of The Chicago Rippers, with the exception of Gecht, confessed to have gang raped the victims. During and after the rape, the victims were tortured with knives, razors, lids, needles and icepicks. Some of the victims were found with needles in their breasts. On most occasions the women were subjected to having their breasts removed with a wire or a knife while they were still alive. Once the women had died, Gecht would allegedly have intercourse with the victim’s open wounds, where the breasts once were. One of the victims who survived claimed that after she was made to take drugs the gang forced her to cut her breast with a large knife. One of the members then masturbated into the wound and covered it with duct tape before she was thrown out of the van. Some of the members would masturbate on top of their victim after they were murdered.
The breasts were collected and placed inside a box at Gecht’s home. It was here that the gang would gather in Gecht’s attic and perform different satanic rituals. These rituals usually consisted of the gang members masturbating into the severed breasts while Gecht read from the Bible. After this part of the ritual was over the gang would cut up the breasts and eat them. It is believed that the gang would do this as a sacrifice to the dark one.
The remains of the victims were found throughout Chicago. They were found mostly in dumpsters, construction sites and in the stairwells of apartment buildings. There was no attempt to bury any of the remains. At first, detectives believed that the some women were murdered weeks before being discovered. However, it was later discovered that the large wounds on the victims caused the rate of decomposition to be much faster than normal.
On November 7, 1982 Gecht his members were arrested. Each of the members confessed to their crimes and claimed that Gecht was the leader of the Chicago Rippers. They also confessed that Gecht had raped, cut the breasts off women and them murdered them. Some prostitutes testified that Gecht had requested them to cut their nipples during intercourse. During the investigation and the trial Gecht acted completely innocent and claimed that he did not know or have anything to do with Speitzer or the Kokoraleis brothers. Gecht was not bothered by the accusations.
Instead, Gecht claimed his innocence despite the many people who testified against him. Without Gecht’s confession the police had enough to implicate Gecht for the murders, but there was not enough evidence to charge him with murder. In 1983, Gecht was found guilty of attempted murder, rape, deviate sexual assault, aggravated battery and armed violence.
Although these sentences meant that Gecht would serve 120 years in prison, he was the only member of the gang to not be charged with murder. The Chicago Rippers is thought to be the cause of 18 murders, however in the end Speitzer was found guilty for 5 murders and sentenced to life imprisonment, Kokoraleis brothers were found guilty for murdering 1 woman each. Thomas was sentenced to life imprisonment, while his brother was sentenced to death and executed on March 16, 1999.
Team Killers: Male by Katherine Ramsland on TruTV.com
Chicago Rippers on Domu.com
Background on Robin Gecht from “The Serial Killer Letters” by Jennifer Furio
Robin Gecht on Murderpedia
Ripper Crew on Wikipedia
TheChicago Rippers by Katherine Ramsland on TruTV.com