A Darien woman on Tuesday described how she barricaded herself in a closet and called 911 while her parents and brother were fatally shot during a March 2010 break-in.
“I'm in my house. There's shooting,” Angela Kramer told a police dispatcher in a frantic whisper, according to a 2-minute clip played in court. Gunfire could be heard in the background.
Kramer, 28, was the second witness called to testify at the trial of her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Borizov, who is charged with the murders of Jeffrey and Lori Kramer and their 20-year-old son Michael. Borizov didn't pull the trigger, but prosecutors say he enlisted another man, Jacob Nodarse, to do it.
Fighting back tears, Kramer testified she was awakened about 3 a.m. by a “loud shatter of glass,” followed by gunshots and the sound of her father screaming.
She said she grabbed her cellphone and pet Chihuahua and climbed into her bedroom closet to call for help.
“I heard about five gunshots, a pause and then about another five shots,” Kramer told the jury.
The triple-murder happened less than two months after Kramer sought legal custody of her and Borizov's then-13-month-old son. She said Borizov had become increasingly controlling and was isolating their child from her family members, at one point calling them “scum” he'd like to see in “body bags.”
DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney Joe Ruggiero said Nodarse was battling severe depression and a drug problem when Borizov “cruelly exploited” him by conning him into the killing spree.
He said Nodarse believed his life was in danger because Borizov portrayed himself as if he was a “mob boss or connected to some underworld criminal enterprise” that would have Nodarse and his family murdered if he didn't cooperate.
“He (Borizov) is just as legally responsible as if he pulled the trigger himself,” Ruggiero said.
Nodarse, who knew both Michael Kramer and Borizov, was driven by the Kramer home by Borizov and on numerous occasions was instructed on how to commit the murders, prosecutors said.
“Kick in the door or break in through the window and, once you're inside, stay committed. Kill everybody in the house, but especially Angela and Mike,” Borizov told Nodarse, according to Ruggiero.
But the defense said Nodarse has a history of severe mental illness and substance abuse and was acting on his own “demons and delusions” when he broke into the Kramer home and opened fire.
“This was Jake imagining stuff as he began to sink deeper and deeper into a fog of mental illness,” defense attorney Paul DeLuca said in his opening statement, calling Nodarse's story an “unbelievable tale.”
DeLuca said Nodarse was grappling with the drug-related deaths of two friends and the shock of catching his girlfriend sleeping with his best friend when he spiraled out of control.
He said Borizov tried to help Nodarse get off drugs but never solicited him to kill anyone.
“He's making this up,” DeLuca said of Nodarse.
Prosecutors said Nodarse broke in with a hammer, waking Michael Kramer and his girlfriend as they slept on a family-room couch. As the couple fled to the kitchen, Jeffrey Kramer responded to the commotion and was shot three times. Lori Kramer was coming from an upstairs bedroom when she was shot in the chest. Prosecutors said Nodarse then returned to the kitchen and shot Michael Kramer while his girlfriend ran out a garage door and hid next to a house two doors away.
Ruggiero said Borizov had told Nodarse to check every room of the house and kill everyone.
“He didn't say check the closets,” Ruggiero said. “If he did, (Angela Kramer) probably would be dead.”
The defense is slated to cross-examine Angela Kramer when the trial resumes Wednesday. Nodarse, 26, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder in 2011 and has also agreed to testify.
It's unclear if Borizov, 31, of Willow Springs, will take the stand.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.