Judy Pokorny has just one regret about the man who had her son's family killed serving life in prison.
"I wish he was the one in the grave," she said Monday.
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Pokorny fought back tears after a DuPage County judge sentenced Johnny Borizov to three consecutive life terms for masterminding the March 2010 murders of her son, Jeffrey Kramer, her daughter-in-law, Lori Kramer, and the couple's 20-year-old son, Michael.
Borizov also was hit with a maximum 30 years for soliciting the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Angela Kramer, who survived the fatal Darien shootings by hiding in a bedroom closet.
"You have taken your last breath of freedom's air," Judge Daniel Guerin told the defendant.
Borizov, 31, formerly of Willow Springs, sat calmly as the sentence was imposed. He had faced mandatory life after a jury in May convicted him of three counts of first-degree murder for enlisting admitted gunman Jacob Nodarse, 26, during a heated child-custody battle with Angela Kramer.
In a statement read by one of his attorneys Monday, Borizov described the crime as a "horrific act of violence by a seriously mentally ill person" but continued to deny any involvement.
"I will profess my innocence until my last breath," he said in the statement.
Outside of court, his mother wept and clung to family members.
"There's no justice," Christina Borizov exclaimed. "It was all fabricated."
In a victim statement, Angela Kramer called the killings of her parents and brother a crime borne out of "senseless and pointless hatred and a need for control."
"I can still have flashbacks of myself hiding in my closet, so scared and fearful of not knowing whether or not I will be killed as I hear my family screaming for their lives right outside my door," she said.
"My family did not deserve these brutal deaths," she added.
Nodarse, who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder, testified in April that Borizov systematically manipulated him into shooting the Kramers while plying him with drugs and alcohol. He said Borizov convinced him his own family would be slain if he didn't carry out the murders.
"Jacob Nodarse was the perfect weapon," said Assistant State's Attorney Bernie Murray, who prosecuted the case with Joe Ruggiero and Amanda Meindl.
Defense attorney Richard Kling said Borizov's life term was a "foregone conclusion" based on Illinois law, which mandates the term for anyone convicted of more than one murder.
"We think there are powerful issues for appeal," he said.
Another defense attorney, Susana Ortiz, said Borizov was prepared for the sentence but "obviously feels terrible" for the victims and "misses his son very much."
Christina Borizov added her family is behind her son "100 percent."
"This is not the first or last time in our broken system an innocent man will be sent to prison," she said.
Pokorny said it's difficult to hear the Borizov family speak of losing someone.
"They haven't lost anything," she said. "They can still see their son. I can't see my son unless I look at a grave."
State's Attorney Bob Berlin said Borizov "truly earned and deserves" the sentence, which offers no possibility of parole.
"It wasn't a surprise but if anyone deserves a life sentence, it was this defendant," he said, adding he's confident Borizov's convictions will be upheld on appeal.
Berlin's office has not yet decided what prison term to seek for Nodarse, who's eligible for a minimum 45 years under a plea agreement that secured his testimony at Borizov's trial.
Berlin said the court is legally required to consider Nodarse's cooperation.
"He's still going to be punished," Berlin said.
Pokorny said Monday's sentence brought a measure of satisfaction but hopefully there's more to come.
"As soon as Jacob (Nodarse) gets his, then I'll be happier," she said.