A judge in St. Louis has ordered the release of a man from a mental hospital for sexually violent predators. Eddie J. Thomas had pleaded guilty in 1982 and was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping and sodomizing two female family members. Thomas, now 50, was scheduled for parole in 2000, but the state used the year-old sexual-predator law to keep him in custody. Last year, the State Supreme Court ordered a rewriting of jury instructions in sexual-predator commitment trials – meaning 22 cases, including Thomas’ – had to be retried. The state’s expert in Thomas’ first civil commitment trial says Thomas no longer meets the definition of a sexually violent predator, so a circuit judge in St. Louis has ordered the man released. The order becomes final in 30 days.