CHICAGO -- A man described as 'Robin the Ripper,' suspected along with two friends in the slayings of up to 17 people and the mutilation-slashings of prostitutes, has a record of weapon violations and sexual misconduct charges.
Robin Gecht, 28, an unemployed carpenter and the father of three, worked as a small-time tradesman and frequently played loud music for neighborhood teenagers, people who lived near him said.
Television station WLS-TV reported Gecht had worked briefly for convicted mass murderer John Wayne Gacy and was supposedly on the witness list used during Gacy's trial. But authorities could not confirm there was any connection between Gecht and Gacy.
Gecht was being held today on $1 million bond after being indicted for two non-fatal slashings of prostitutes. Police dubbed him 'Robin the Ripper' upon arrest.
Also in custody were Edward Spreitzer, 21, who lived with the Gecht family for a short time, and Andrew Kokoraleis, 19, who worked for Gecht doing odd jobs for low pay.
Court records show Gecht pleaded guilty in February 1980 to contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor. In August he was arrested on a charge of unlawful use of a gun and in October he was charged with aggravated battery in connection with a stabbing.
Marion Spiropoulos, a neighbor of the Gechts, remembered loud music coming from his apartment and many visitors.
'Teenagers were coming and going constantly,' she said. 'One girl, who was maybe 15, was staying overnight and wouldn't go home.'
Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek said the three men have been implicated in 15 to 17 killings -- some of them women whose breasts were sliced off.
Katherine M. Byrd, the 14-year-old girlfriend of Gecht's 22-year-old brother-in-law, said Gecht had once slashed his wife's breast during lovemaking.
Miss Byrd, who babysat Gecht's three children, said Rose Marie Gecht told her Gecht had slashed her breast in August and showed her a 1 -inch wound.
'The first I knew about this stuff was when he did it to his wife,' she said.
However, Sgt. Francis P. O'Connor said he could neither confirm nor deny Miss Byrd's statement.
Police also said they had caught Spreitzer in two lies and were afraid the men were merely trying to 'take credit' for the murders.
'We are proceeding with this one very carefully,' one investigator said. 'They do know a lot about some murders. But we want to make sure they aren't hyping the thing -- that they just didn't find out about some of them in the newspapers and want to 'take credit.''
Spreitzer and Kokoraleis were indicted by a Cook County grand jury Wednesday in a fatal slashing attack on Rose Davis, 31, a prostitute who was found in a gangway Sept. 8. They were ordered held without bond.
'They have been cooperating to a degree,' said one officer. 'One of them has made a statement.' He did not indicate which of the three suspects made the statement.
Spreitzer also was charged with the murder of Sandra Delaware, 18, whose mutilated body was found Aug. 28 in the North Branch of the Chicago River.
Brzeczek said with the exception of a man shot to death on the West Side, the murders follow a 'common thread ... abduction of a lone female, mutilation ... sexual attack and murder itself.'
Gecht was indicted by a Cook County grand jury for the June 13 attack on a 19-year-old prostitute. The man handcuffed her, raped her, then ordered her at gunpoint to mutilate her breast with his knife.
He was indicted earlier for an Oct. 6 attack on an 18-year-old prostitute. Police said a man picked up the woman, handcuffed her and drove to a vacant lot. The assailant then raped her, sliced off one breast and slashed another before leaving her naked and bleeding by a railroad track.
Spreitzer had been convicted in September 1979 on charges involving a stolen auto and convicted in March 1980 for theft.