Prosecutors on Tuesday portrayed a 32-year-old Willow Springs man as the mastermind behind three killings in a Darien home in 2010.
The defense painted a different picture, instead focusing on the man's friend as the actual killer of three members of the Kramer family.
The attorneys on Tuesday morning gave their opening statements to the jury in Johnny Borizov's murder trial. He faces first-degree murder and solicitation of murder charges. The courtroom was nearly full on Tuesday, which was the first full day of the trial after jury selection.
Borizov sat at the courtroom's defense table wearing a blue and white-striped shirt. He listened with little movement or reaction as prosecutors detailed his tumultuous relationship with the Kramer family. Borizov is the ex-boyfriend of Angela Kramer and the father of her three-year-old child, Nicholas.
At about 3 a.m. on March 2, 2010, Borizov's friend Jacob Nodarse broke into the Kramer family home and killed Angela's parents, Jeffrey and Lori, and Michael, her younger brother. Angela survived by hiding in a closet and calling 911. Her child was with Borizov's family that night.
Borizov came up with the plan to kill the Kramers after Angela Kramer left him in December 2009 and began a custody battle for Nicholas. He also was on bad terms with Jeffrey, Lori and Michael Kramer, prosecutors said.
"'Kill everybody in the house, but especially kill Angela and Mike' ... those are his words that he told his co-defendant Jacob Nodarse," Assistant DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Ruggiero said.
Borizov sought Nodarse to do the killings because he knew he could not do them himself, Ruggiero said. Kramer family relatives and friends would immediately suspect Borizov because of his volatile temper and hostility towards the family.
Nodarse was badgered with endless stories and references about Borizov's connection to organized crime, even though no such connection exists, Ruggiero said. He said Borizov used those stories to intimidate Nordarse and claim his life and Nordarse's sister's life was in danger.
Borizov also told Nodarse that he would be called as a witness during an upcoming custody hearing, and that the Kramer family wanted him dead before he could testify.
Prosecutors said Nodarse believed Borizov and was also under the influence of many drugs during and leading up to the killings.
The defense also mentioned Nodarse's drug history, but emphasized that Nodarse had abused many drugs for some time. The evidence will show that Nodarse's drug-addled mental state and actions led to the Kramer deaths, said Defense Attorney Paul DeLuca.
"This trial is about Jake Nodarse, not Johnny Borizov," DeLuca told the jurors.
The state and defense both mentioned that Nodarse was already convicted in the Kramer killings. Nodarse pled guilty but mentally ill. He could be sentenced to life in prison.
This is the first murder trial in the Chicago area to be photographed and filmed. A shared pool of images and video for the trial will be used by media outlets, including Patch, although media cannot show the jury and 10 of the expected witnesses.
The trial continues Wednesday and runs on a Tuesday through Friday schedule until its conclusion. After a delay due to widespread flooding, the trail is expected to proceed for the next three to four weeks into mid-May.
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