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updated: 5/8/2013 6:59 PM

Defense attacks Darien gunman's credibility

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  • Johnny Borizov listens to the cross-examination of co-defendant Jacob Nodarse on April 26 at the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton.

      Johnny Borizov listens to the cross-examination of co-defendant Jacob Nodarse on April 26 at the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton.
    POOL/Chicago Tribune, Keri Wiginton

  • Jacob Nodarse holds the gun used to kill Michael Kramer, 20, and Kramer's parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, during the defense's cross-examination of him on April 26 in Wheaton.

      Jacob Nodarse holds the gun used to kill Michael Kramer, 20, and Kramer's parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, during the defense's cross-examination of him on April 26 in Wheaton.
    POOL/Chicago Tribune, Keri Wiginton

 

DuPage County prosecutors on Wednesday rested their case against triple-murder suspect Johnny Borizov, while the defense sought to attack the credibility of a key witness.

Borizov, 31, of Willow Springs, faces first-degree murder charges in the March 2010 slayings of three members of his ex-girlfriend's family. Co-defendant Jacob Nodarse testified in April that Borizov persuaded him to break into the victims' Darien home and fatally shoot them.

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After more than two weeks of testimony by prosecution witnesses, the defense opened its case Wednesday by calling a forensic scientist who analyzed a bottle of urine found in Nodarse's car after he fled to Florida following the killings.

Christine Battaglia of the Illinois State Police crime lab said tests showed traces of amphetamines, narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and over-the-counter medication. She couldn't determine how much Nodarse took, at what time, or how the substances interacted, she testified.

The defense also played part of a recorded interrogation in which Nodarse denies having direct knowledge of the murders of his onetime friend Michael Kramer, 20, and Kramer's parents, Jeffrey and Lori -- all of whom he's since confessed to repeatedly shooting.

On the video, recorded two days after the killings, Nodarse tells detectives he's been awake for several days, then details his drug history. He says he was once addicted to painkillers and, at various times, used marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms.

"I almost feel like I'm on those things right now from lack of sleep," he says while discussing mushrooms.

Nodarse goes on to say he hasn't seen Michael Kramer in several months -- "probably not since the time that we fought. He was very, very agitated."

Attorneys for Borizov say Nodarse was in a "fog of mental illness" and acting alone when he committed the murders after a falling out with Michael Kramer.

The shooter has testified he killed the Kramers after weeks of planning with Borizov, who was locked in a heated child-custody case with Michael Kramer's older sister.

Nodarse, who was spared a mandatory life sentence in exchange for his testimony, said he initially denied involvement because he was convinced Borizov was embedded in a complex criminal enterprise that worked with "dirty cops." He said he believed his own family was in danger if he didn't follow Borizov's instructions.

Nodarse, 26, formerly of Countryside, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of murder. He faces 45 years to life under an agreement with prosecutors and is awaiting sentencing.

Borizov's jury trial resumes Thursday.

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