Johnny Borizov guilty in triple murder of ex-girlfriend’s family
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2013 12:57PM
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:24AM
Judy Pokorny always believed Johnny Borizov would be held responsible for arranging the 2010 murders of her son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
On Tuesday, she was proved right when a DuPage County jury deliberated barely two hours before convicting Borizov of murder and murder solicitation charges in the notorious Darien triple murder.
“I thank God for the verdict that we got today, but I knew we were going to get that verdict,” an emotional Pokorny said outside the courtroom, surrounded by more than 30 friends and relatives.
The guilty verdicts delivered moments earlier in a hushed Wheaton courtroom mean the 31-year-old Borizov will receive a mandatory life sentence.
Borizov sat silently and showed no expression as he was convicted of orchestrating the killings of his former girlfriend’s parents and younger brother in a shooting spree prosecutors said stemmed from a child custody dispute.
Killed during the March 2, 2010 attack in their home were Jeffrey Kramer, 50; his wife, Lori, 48; and their youngest son, Michael, 20.
Borizov’s former girlfriend, Angela Kramer, also was targeted, prosecutors said, but survived by hiding in her closet.
She lowered her head and sobbed in the courtroom as her former boyfriend was convicted of staging the attack in what prosecutors said was his attempt to gain sole custody of their then 13-month-old son.
As Borizov was led out of the courtroom by deputies, a Kramer family member called out “devil.” Then Kramer supporters and relatives broke into applause.
Borizov’s parents and several other relatives left without commenting on the verdicts, though his grandmother shook her head in the courtroom as he was convicted.
“I don’t care, he didn’t do nothing,” she said.
Angela Kramer sat with two others who were in the house that night but survived — her older brother, Anthony, and her slain brother’s girlfriend, Christina Palumbo. All three were staying at the family home when gunman Jacob Nodarse broke in and opened fire.
Nodarse, 26, was a critical witness against his former friend, admitting he killed the Kramers but insisting he was coerced into the attack by Borizov.
Despite Nodarse’s testimony and the speed of the guilty verdicts, jury foreman Kevin James said he initially had doubts about Nodarse’s claims.
“I didn’t believe the guy,” James said after the verdicts.
But James said other evidence backed Nodarse’s testimony that Borizov planned the attack, including cell phone records showing Borizov was in Darien at the times Nodarse claimed they were watching the Kramer home.
Taped conversations between Nodarse and Borizov while they were locked up in the Darien police station after the killings also were key, James said. Borizov on the tapes asked Nodarse what he had done with the gun used in the shooting and asked him if he had worn gloves.
“It pretty much corroborates what Jacob Nodarse says,” said James, 29, adding that until then he was “skeptical” because of Nodarse’s history of mental illness and drug abuse — and because Nodarse acknowledged he was the triggerman.
“Everybody agrees Nodarse is not normal — he murdered three people,” James said, but ultimately, jurors concluded Borizov masterminded the murders Nodarse committed.
“All that matters is did Johnny Borizov tell him to murder all these people? Yes, we all believed that he did,” James said.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors expressed surprised at the speed of the verdicts, which followed three weeks of testimony.
“It is pretty remarkable,” said defense attorney Richard Kling.
Kramer relatives said they were relieved their three years of waiting for Borizov to come to trial ended with quick guilty verdicts.
“I was really shocked and at the same time I kind of felt good it was done so fast,” said William Svatos, Lori Kramer’s father. “I’m not ashamed to say I broke down crying.”
The verdicts, Svatos said, will bring some peace to his family, particularly Angela Kramer, who declined to comment.
“My granddaughter and her future husband and my family can rest in peace. They don’t have to worry about nothing,” Svatos said.
The life prison term that await Borizov is “a sentence he justly deserves,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.