Two months before he and two family members were gunned down in their home, Jeffrey Kramer confided he was "worried about this Johnny coming in and shooting up the place," his father-in-law testified Wednesday.
"He had real concern about the safety of his family -- you could see it in his face," William Svatos Jr. said.
Next week, a DuPage County judge will decide whether Svatos can repeat that account when Johnny Borizov stands trial for the March 2010 murders of three members of his ex-girlfriend's family.
Prosecutors want jurors to hear from four witnesses who say victims Lori and Jeffrey Kramer told them weeks before they were killed that Borizov threatened or intimidated them.
The defense says the hearsay is unspecific or unreliable and shouldn't be permitted.
One witness, Evelyn Hanley, testified Wednesday that Lori Kramer came to her in January 2010 seeking extra security for their office building. Hanley said Kramer told her Borizov was "combative" and would "make her family miserable" because of a bitter child-custody battle with their daughter Angela.
Another co-worker, Dana Pauley, said Kramer told her Borizov once threatened, "I'm going to hurt you." On a different occasion, Borizov told her, "You'll never see your grandson again, and I hope you die," according to Kramer's mother, Joyce Tambarino.
The Kramers and their 20-year-old son Mike were fatally shot about 3 a.m. by an intruder who broke into the family's Darien home through a window. Angela Kramer hid in a closet and survived.
The additional witnesses would corroborate the account of co-defendant Jacob Nodarse, who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in 2011 to committing the murders, said Assistant State's Attorney Bernie Murray. Prosecutors say Nodarse murdered the Kramers at Borizov's behest to prevent them from testifying against Borizov in child-custody proceedings.
Nodarse is expected to take the stand when Borizov, 31, of Willow Springs, stands trial in April. Judge Daniel Guerin, said he would rule on the hearsay issue March 29.