Gunman called cops to find out if cops were following him
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org April 26, 2013 1:31PM
Jacob Nodarse holds the gun used to shoot and kill Michael Kramer, 20, and Kramer's parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, during cross-examination in the trial of Johnny Borizov at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, Ill., on Friday, April 26, 2013. Prosecutors contend that Borizov, who is charged with murder, conspiracy and solicitation, pressured Nodarse to commit the shooting. (Keri Wiginton/Chicago Tribune) ORG XMIT: CHI1304261427079660
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:42AM
After gunning down three members of a Darien family, Jacob Nodarse jumped into his car and immediately starting driving to Florida to escape police.
Hours later, though, a dazed-sounding Nodarse dialed 911 in Georgia to report that he was being followed by what he thought were unmarked police cars.
During the brief, two-minute call, Nodarse even gave the operator his name.
“There’s like seven cars constantly flashing their lights. I think they’re cops,” Nodarse told the 911 dispatcher. “Can you just fill me in on what’s going on?”
The recorded call was played Friday at the DuPage County jury trial of the man charged with orchestrating the March 2, 2010, slayings.
Johnny Borizov’s attorneys highlighted the bizarre call as they attacked the mental stability of Nodarse, who has admitted fatally shooting Jeffrey and Lori Kramer, as well as their 20-year-old son, Michael.
During his second day of testimony, the 26-year-old Nodarse said he was so mentally confused when he carried out the 3 a.m. attack that he wasn’t sure if the killings were only a nightmare.
“I couldn’t tell the difference between reality and nightmares,” said Nodarse, who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a murder charge as part of a deal that requires him to testify against Borizov.
As he headed for Florida after the shootings, Nodarse testified he flipped back and forth between thinking he had imagined the shootings and realizing he had carried out the attack.
He first began to believe he actually committed the murders when he stopped along an Indiana highway and checked his .40-caliber handgun to see if it had been fired.
“I saw how many rounds were spent. That is when I realized it was real,” Nodarse testified.
Later on his drive, Nodarse said, he thought he was being followed by undercover police cars, though he said he realized later they were imaginary.
At one point, he called 911 in southern Georgia while driving on I-75 because he again thought police were tailing him.
“They keep flashing their flashers at me,” he told the operator, while asking “is there anything you can tell me?”
When the confused operator couldn’t offer provide any information, Nodarse politely thanked her and hung up.
He was grabbed by police on March 3 outside his parents’ home in Fort Myers, Fla., though authorities have said the phone call didn’t play a role in his quick arrest.
Nodarse’s mental health at the time of the killings is a key issue because he is the crucial witness against the 31-year-old Borizov.
Prosecutors contend a child custody dispute between Borizov and his former girlfriend, Angela Kramer, prompted him to pressure Nodarse to kill Kramer and her family.
Angela Kramer, now 28, was in the house when her parents and younger brother were slain, but survived by hiding in a closet.
Borizov’s attorneys contend Nodarse — who has long struggled with mental illness, along with drug and alcohol addictions — decided on his own to kill the family because of an ongoing feud with Michael Kramer.
They’ve argued his mental health and substance abuse issues show his claims that Borizov forced him to carry out the attack aren’t believable.