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Gunman says Borizov directed fatal Darien shooting rampage

Jacob Nodarse testifies during Johnny Borizov trial DuPage County Courthouse WheatIllinois Thursday April 25 2013. (Pool/Daily Herald Daniel White)

Jacob Nodarse testifies during the Johnny Borizov trial at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, Illinois on Thursday April 25, 2013. (Pool/Daily Herald, Daniel White)

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:06AM

The first person Jacob Nodarse shot at after he broke into the house was his one-time friend, Michael Kramer.

That bullet missed when the 20-year-old ducked around a corner, Nodarse said, so he quickly gunned down Kramer’s startled parents — then went searching for Michael.

He found him in the kitchen of the Darien home.

“He had a steak knife, but I was out of reach. I shot him in the torso, then the head,” Nodarse said Thursday, his voice flat and emotionless as he described the killing.

But one of his targets escaped, Nodarse said — he couldn’t find Angela Kramer in her second-floor bedroom when he burst in to kill her.

The 26-year-old Nodarse methodically recounted the 2010 triple slayings for a DuPage County jury weighing whether his friend, Johnny Borizov, also is responsible for the killings.

Borizov, 31, is being tried on charges of murder and murder solicitation for allegedly recruiting Nodarse to carry out the March 2, 2010 shooting spree.

Prosecutors contend that Borizov launched the plot after Angela Kramer ended her romantic relationship with him. He allegedly pressured Nodarse to kill Kramer and her family so he could gain sole custody of their 13-month-old son, prosecutors said.

The 3 a.m. rampage killed Kramer’s parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, along with her younger brother, Michael.

Borizov gave detailed instructions for the attack, including setting the specific time so he could arrange an alibi for himself, said Nodarse, a critical witness for prosecutors.

Borizov told him to wear a ski mask, two sets of gloves and oversize shoes to disguise any footprints he’d leave in the snow outside the house, Nodarse said.

Borizov even ordered him to search the house thoroughly to make sure Angela and her family weren’t hiding.

“He went so far as to tell me to check the closets,” Nodarse said.

Angela Kramer, now 28, earlier gave wrenching testimony detailing how she heard gunshots and screams, then ducked into a closet in her room and called 911 on her cell phone.

She survived, Nodarse claimed, because he forgot to follow to all of Borizov’s instructions.

“Did you check the closets?” Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Ruggiero asked Nodarse at one point during his day-long testimony.

“I failed to do that, thank God,” said Nodarse, showing a rare flash of emotion.

Borizov also warned him to make sure everyone he shot died, Nodarse calmly recounted.

“He said to put one bullet in each of their heads to make sure they were dead,” Nodarse said.

Nodarse has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to killing Jeffrey Kramer during the shooting spree in a plea deal that requires him to testify against Borizov.

He faces a minimum 45-year prison term when he is sentenced and has been in custody since he was arrested a day after the killings.

During his testimony, he wore orange jail fatigues and avoided looking across the courtroom at Borizov, who watched him intently while he described the killings.

Nodarse struggled as he tried to explain how Borizov allegedly persuaded him to carry out the shootings.

Nodarse claimed Borizov warned him for months that Michael Kramer was planning to kill him so he couldn’t testify during Borizov’s upcoming child custody fight.

And he said Borizov, whom he believed ran a criminal gang involved in drug sales, extortion and casino thefts, warned he’d be killed if he didn’t murder the Kramers.

Borizov’s attorneys contend Nodarse — who has 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.

Police pressured Nodarse to implicate Borizov, who at the time of the slayings was recorded by security cameras at a Joliet casino, defense attorneys said.

After the slayings, Nodarse drove to his parents’ home in Florida, where he was arrested the day after the attack.

Returned to Illinois, he and Borizov were placed in adjoining cells in the Darien police station.

Prosecutors on Thursday played for jurors taped conversations between the two men as they discussed the killings.

“Who’s dead?” Borizov asks Nodarse at one point.

“Mike. His mom and dad,” Nodarse replies.

Borizov moments later asks Nodarse another question.

“How do you feel?” he asks.

“Like s—t,” Nodarse answers.

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