Prosecutors of Darien triple murder honored

A team of DuPage County prosecutors who secured convictions against two men charged with a triple murder are being honored by the Chicago Crime Commission.

Assistant state’s attorneys Joe Ruggiero, Bernie Murray and Mandy Meindl will receive the Mitch Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award at the commission’s 2013 Stars of Distinction dinner Nov. 6.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of Joe, Bernie and Mandy,” State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said Tuesday. “With more than 60 years of experience (among) them, they epitomize the very best in the legal profession and public service.”

The award comes about five months after the team successfully prosecuted Willow Springs resident Johnny Borizov for the slayings of three members of his ex-girlfriend’s family. In May, a jury found Borizov guilty of enlisting mentally ill trigger man Jacob Nodarse to carry out the March 2010 killings in Darien.

The same group of prosecutors previously had negotiated a plea agreement that led Nodarse to admit guilt and testify at Borizov’s trial.

“The case against Borizov, which was based on a theory of accountability, was a particularly difficult one,” Berlin said. “The team had to convince a jury to believe the testimony of Nodarse, a confessed triple murderer.”

Ruggiero, chief of the state’s attorney’s criminal bureau, said Tuesday the case was always about finding justice for the victims.

“We were happy to get justice for that family,” he said. “That was the driving force.”

This is the second time a DuPage prosecutor is receiving the award named after former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars. Former Criminal Bureau Chief Michael Wolfe, who is now an 18th Circuit Court judge, was honored with the inaugural award in 2008, officials said.

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