Triple murder trial to start after flood delay - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Triple murder trial underway after flood delay

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Johnny Borizov Johnny Borizov
(L-R) Lori, Michael, and Jeffrey Kramer. (L-R) Lori, Michael, and Jeffrey Kramer.
WHEATON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Johnny Borizov was a "master manipulator" who pressured a mentally ill friend into attacking Borizov's ex-girlfriend and her family during a bitter child custody battle, DuPage County prosecutors said Tuesday.

The 2010 shooting spree that killed three members of a Darien family in their home was carried out by gunman Jacob Nodarse, but Borizov orchestrated the attack, prosecutors contended as Borizov's murder trial opened, the Sun-Times is reporting.

"That was his planning, his solicitation to get someone to do something he didn't want to do," Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Ruggiero told jurors.

Borizov, 31, faces charges of murder and murder solicitation for allegedly recruiting Nodarse to carry out the March 2, 2010, shootings.

Prosecutors contended Borizov wanted to kill his former girlfriend, Angela Kramer, and her family so he could gain sole custody of their then-13-month-old son.

Angela survived the 3 a.m. attack by hiding in a closet at her parents' home.

But the shooting rampage killed her parents, 50-year-old Jeffrey Kramer and 48-year-old Lori Kramer, and her younger brother, Michael, 20.

Angela Kramer is expected to be the first witness called by prosecutors later Tuesday.

In 2011, Nodarse pleaded guilty but mentally ill to gunning down Jeffrey Kramer as part of a plea deal that calls for him to testify against Borizov.

Borizov pressured his friend to carry out the shootings by warning that Nodarse was in danger of being killed by Kramer's family to prevent him from testifying during an upcoming child custody hearing, Ruggiero told jurors.

And Borizov — who Ruggiero said portrayed himself as a "big-shot gangster" — had warned Nodarse that if he didn't carry out the attack he would be harmed by others in Borizov's "killing crew."

On Tuesday, Borizov's attorney argued Nodarse carried out the shooting on his own, but then was pressured by police to implicate Borizov in the killings.

"He was guided by his own delusions and his own demons," defense attorney Paul DeLuca said of Nodarse.

Nodarse had long struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as extensive mental illness, including severe depression — which undercuts his claims of being threatened and pressured by Borizov, DeLuca said.

"This was Jake imagining this stuff as she sank deeper and deeper into this fog of mental illness," DeLuca said.

Nodarse, now 26, was angry at Michael Kramer and feared he was in danger of being harmed by him when he broke into the Kramer house and began shooting, DeLuca said.

Borizov had no desire to kill his former girlfriend, DeLuca contended.

"Johnny Borizov still loves Angela," DeLuca said.

The trial is the first in the Chicago area to be recorded by media cameras.

A still camera and TV camera captured opening statements, but photographers are barred from recording images of several upcoming witnesses, including Angela Kramer.

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