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updated: 3/1/2011 5:13 PM

Suspect fit for trial in Darien triple slaying

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  • Jacob Nodarse

      Jacob Nodarse

 
 

A forensic psychologist says the man charged in the premeditated murders of three members of a Darien family is fit to stand trial.

Prosecutors on Wednesday disclosed in court the findings of a mental health evaluation of Jacob Nodarse, who has a documented history of instability.

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The report is sealed from public inspection, but Prosecutor Joseph Ruggiero told DuPage Circuit Judge Daniel Guerin that Nodarse is able to assist with his defense and understand the legal process.

John Murray, a court-appointed clinical and forensic psychologist, had interviewed the 24-year-old Countryside man for a fitness and sanity evaluation, which prosecutors and the defense attorney agreed was needed.

Nodarse, the man suspected of pulling the trigger, is facing a 22-count felony indictment alleging first-degree murder, conspiracy and home invasion. He also is charged with obstructing justice for fleeing to Florida to avoid arrest.

Nodarse has some history of mental instability, including a prior suicide attempt and hospitalization. His attorney Steven "Randy" Rueckert noted there is a difference between fitness and whether Nodarse was legally sane at the time of the killings.

Rueckert has not disclosed if he will seek an insanity defense, and said he still must discuss Murray's report with Nodarse before deciding whether to seek a second opinion. Judge Guerin set the next court date for Oct. 14.

Nodarse confessed to opening fire about 3 a.m. March 2 after using a hammer to shatter the Kramer family's window, prosecutors said. They said his friend, Johnny Borizov, 28, of Willow Springs, convinced Nodarse to carry out a plan to kill members of his ex-girlfriend's family as the former couple battled over custody of their infant son.

Jeffrey and Lori Kramer, and their 20-year-old son, Mike, were shot to death after being stirred from their sleep. Angela Kramer, 25, survived after dialing 911 while hiding in a closet. Her older brother and Mike Kramer's teenage girlfriend escaped.

Borizov also is facing first-degree murder charges. Fitness was not raised as an issue in his case. His attorneys have said authorities lack any evidence against Borizov, seen on video gambling at a Joliet riverboat at the time of the killings, other than unreliable statements from Nodarse.

The defendants remain held without bond in the DuPage County jail. Both have pleaded not guilty and have nonviolent criminal records.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against either man.

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