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posted: 3/24/2010 12:01 AM

Darien triple slaying court case heats up

Both sides accuse the other of impeding probe

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  • Johnny Borizov

    Johnny Borizov


Weeks after a grisly Darien family murder, the ex-boyfriend of one of the survivors is seeking unfettered access into the police probe that led to his prosecution on murder charges.

Attorneys for Johnny Borizov will appear Wednesday in two DuPage County courtrooms to argue unique pretrial motions related to the criminal case and custody battle over his infant son.

The 28-year-old Willow Springs man and his friend, Jacob Nodarse, 23, of Countryside, are being held without bond on murder and conspiracy charges. A grand jury indictment is expected next week.

Prosecutors said Nodarse fatally shot Jeff and Lori Kramer, along with their youngest child, Michael, 20, after breaking into their home March 2 on Kilkenny Drive.

Nodarse confessed to being the triggerman, prosecutors said, and portrayed Borizov as the author of a murderous plan to exact revenge on his ex-girlfriend, Angela Kramer, who escaped death by hiding in an upstairs closet while calling 911.

She obtained an emergency order of protection against Borizov. Kramer also is seeking sole custody of their nearly 14-month-old son and to block the father's visitation rights, citing the murder charges. In response, Borizov's attorneys filed subpoenas in the civil case to interview several police officers, as well as glean access to Angela Kramer's cellular phone records and Nodarse's personnel file at a Naperville BMW dealership where he worked.

Attorney Juli Gumina, who represents Angela Kramer, called the move "harassing, frivolous and irrelevant," and asked a judge to quash the subpoenas. Prosecutors also are fighting the defense's attempt to depose law enforcement in the civil case.

Borizov's attorneys, Marc Wolfe and Natalie Stec, said authorities are prosecuting an innocent man based solely on the words of Nodarse, whom the defense described as mentally unstable.

In another motion, Wolfe accused authorities of violating the law in directing unnamed witnesses with relevant information about the case not to speak to anyone other than law enforcement.

"The conduct has effectively resulted in the intimidation of witnesses by depriving them of free will, which has severely impeded the defendant's right to conduct his own investigation," Wolfe wrote in a motion asking a judge to compel prosecutors to inform witnesses they may communicate with whomever they choose.

DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett called the defense allegation "completely inaccurate." As for the law enforcement subpoenas, Birkett said the defense does not have a right to such discovery until after a formal indictment, which is expected next week.

Prosecutors said Borizov pestered Nodarse for weeks before the two hatched final details in a Feb. 25 meeting. Minutes before 3 a.m. March 2, prosecutors said, Nodarse smashed through a window with a hammer and began firing, killing three. Angela Kramer; her older brother, Anthony; and Michael's 17-year-old girlfriend escaped. They could not identify the gunman.

Prosecutors said Nodarse fled to his car, parked one block away, and headed straight for Florida. He was arrested 36 hours later outside his parents' house. Nodarse led detectives to the murder weapon, stashed in a trash bin behind a restaurant in Terre Haute, Ind., prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, police had Borizov under arrest, without charges, since five hours after the slayings when he voluntarily went in for questioning. Borizov was gambling at Joliet's Empress riverboat at the time of the slayings with his older brother, Boris, who is not accused of any wrongdoing.

Johnny Borizov's alibi is supported by video surveillance footage and credit card receipts. Still, authorities suspect he masterminded the murder plan. They said Nodarse called Borizov on a prepaid cellular phone after the killings. Also, after Nodarse returned to Illinois, Borizov is accused of making incriminating statements to him as the two were in nearby cells at the Darien police station. Police recorded the statements, but they declined to make public what was said.

Neither man has a violent criminal history. Borizov also is charged with murder solicitation, though prosecutors have not alleged any money was exchanged.