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Jurors hear 911 call in Darien slayings: ‘I’m in my house. There’s shooting’

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Updated: May 25, 2013 6:32AM

The 911 call begins with a gunshot.

Then Angela Kramer softly pleads for help as the gunman who killed her parents and brother seconds earlier searches for her inside the family’s Darien home.

“I’m in my house. There’s shooting,” Kramer tells the operator in a low voice immediately after the loud gunshot.

Kramer wept quietly Tuesday as a recording of the 2010 emergency call was played in the DuPage County courtroom where her former boyfriend is on trial for allegedly arranging the deadly attack.

Prosecutors contend 31-year-old Johnny Borizov pressured a mentally ill friend to kill Kramer and her family so he could gain sole custody of their 13-month-old son.

The Countryside man faces charges of murder and murder solicitation for allegedly recruiting his friend, Jacob Nodarse, to carry out the March 2, 2010 attack.

The 3 a.m. shooting rampage killed Kramer’s parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, along with her 20-year-old brother, Michael.

Angela Kramer testified she woke up when she heard a “loud shatter of glass,” followed by gunshots. She listened for a few seconds, then locked her bedroom door and dived into her closet with a cell phone and her pet Chihuahua.

“I heard gunshots and screaming from my dad,” Kramer, now 28, told jurors hearing the trial. “I heard about five shots, a pause, and then another five shots.”

The final gunshot was recorded on the 911 call, which also captured Kramer seconds later whispering her address to the operator.

“Who’s shooting?” the 911 operator asked her.

“I don’t know,” Kramer answered.

“Was it outside?” the operator

“No,” Kramer replied.

Prosecutors contend a masked Nodarse smashed a window to get into the home, then gunned down Kramer’s parents and younger brother.

After those shootings, Nodarse climbed the stairs to the home’s second floor and broke into Angela’s bedroom to kill her, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Ruggiero said as the trial began.

But Nodarse ran from the house when he didn’t see her in the room, Ruggiero said.

Angela Kramer told jurors that as she huddled in her closet, she heard somebody come within steps of her hiding place.

“I heard breathing. It sounded like it was right next to my bedroom,” she testified.

Kramer’s 911 call lasted for more than 55 minutes until police searched the darkened house and rescued her from her hiding place.

Her voice broke as she described being escorted by police past her mother’s body.

“She was lying sideways on the stairs,” Kramer said, pausing as she wiped away tears.

Neither she nor another survivor of the attack ever saw the gunman.

Christina Palumbo, who dated Michael Kramer and was staying at the house the night of the shootings, said she heard a “loud noise,” then two gunshots.

Palumbo, now 20, said she ran out a back door as Michael tried to confront the gunman.

“I heard Michael scream, ‘no, don’t,’” Palumbo said. “Then I heard a third gunshot.”

Angela Kramer’s 13-month-old son was with Borizov’s family the night of the shooting.

Nodarse, now 26, has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to gunning down Jeffrey Kramer as part of a plea deal that calls for him to testify against Borizov.

Nodarse carried out the attack because Borizov claimed Nodarse would be killed by Kramer’s family to prevent him from testifying during an upcoming child custody hearing, Ruggiero argued.

And Borizov — who Ruggiero said portrayed himself as a “big-shot gangster” — warned Nodarse that if he didn’t carry out the attack he would be harmed by others in Borizov’s “killing crew.”

Borizov’s attorneys dispute that claim, insisting Nodarse carried out the shooting on his own, but then was pressured by police to implicate Borizov in the killings.

“He was guided by his own delusions and his own demons,” defense attorney Paul DeLuca said of Nodarse.

Nodarse had long struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as extensive mental illness, including severe depression — undercutting his claims of being threatened and pressured by Borizov, DeLuca said.

“This was Jake imagining this stuff as he sank deeper and deeper into this fog of mental illness,” DeLuca said.

Nodarse, now 26, also was angry at his former friend, Michael Kramer, and feared he was in danger of being harmed by him. DeLuca said.

Borizov had no desire to kill his former girlfriend, DeLuca contended.

“Johnny Borizov still loves Angela,” DeLuca said.

The trial is the first in the Chicago area to be recorded by media cameras.

A still camera and TV camera captured opening statements, but photographers are barred from recording images of several witnesses, including Angela Kramer.

Her testimony will continue Wednesday.

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