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Borizov sentenced to life for arranging triple Darien murder

Johnny Borizov appears court DuPage County Courthouse WheatIll. Monday July 15 2013 during defense motifor new trial. The motiwas denied

Johnny Borizov appears in court at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, Ill., on Monday, July 15, 2013, during a defense motion for a new trial. The motion was denied, setting the stage for his sentencing hearing today. He was convicted on May 14, 2013, of masterminding the 2010 murders of three members of the Kramer family in their Darien home and faces a mandatory life sentence. (pool photo Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune) ORG XMIT: CHI1307151535360843

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Updated: August 17, 2013 6:38AM

Johnny Borizov sat calmly as a judge ripped him Monday for recruiting a friend to kill ex-girlfriend Angela Kramer and her family so he could gain sole custody of their son.

The 2010 shooting spree killed Kramer’s parents and younger brother, while she survived the 3 a.m. rampage at the family’s Darien home by hiding in a closet.

“Your hate for Angela Kramer and her family was greater than your love for your son,” DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin said Monday as he sentenced Borizov to three consecutive life prison terms.

There was no suspense for the 31-year-old Borizov, who faced a mandatory life sentence after being convicted in May of orchestrating the killings of Jeffrey and Lori Kramer, along with their son, Michael.

Angela Kramer, now 28, was stoic as Borizov was sentenced, though several relatives seated around her cried softly.

Earlier, Kramer paused frequently to wipe away tears as she described the pain of losing her parents and brother, then recounted how she still struggles with disturbing memories of the March 2, 2010 slayings.

“I can still have flashbacks of myself hiding in my closet, so scared and fearful of not knowing whether or not I will be killed as I hear my family screaming for their lives right outside my door,” said Kramer, who declined to comment on the sentence.

Her grandmother, though, said the punishment imposed on Borizov does little to ease the grief she and other relatives feel.

“We’ve got some satisfaction, but there will always be a hole in our hearts — three holes because we lost some very, very special people,” said Judy Pokorny, Jeffrey Kramer’s mother.

Borizov was convicted in May of pressuring a friend, Jacob Nodarse, to gun down Kramer and her family because he wanted custody of their then 13-month-old son, prosecutors argued.

Nodarse, 26, earlier pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of murder as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors and provided critical testimony against Borizov at his trial.

Nodarse faces a minimum 45-year prison term when he is sentenced next month.

Before being sentenced, Borizov in a written statement blamed Nodarse for the murders, which he called “a horrific act of violence committed by a seriously mentally ill person.”

“I will profess my innocence until my last breath,” Borizov wrote in the statement read in court by defense attorney Susana Ortiz.

Prosecutors dismissed that claim, saying Borizov planned the killings, then pressured a vulnerable, mentally ill Nodarse to carry out the attack.

“The sentence he got, he truly, truly earned,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said of Borizov.

Borizov’s relatives outside the courtroom promised to fight to overturn his conviction.

“Our family has been unwavering in our belief in his innocence,” said his sister-in-law, Kate Borizov. “Today, we believe the justice system has failed. But we will continue to support John and support his innocence until the day he comes home.”

Pokorny hopes that day never comes.

“They can still see their son,” Pokorny said of Borizov’s family. “I can’t see my son unless I’m looking at a grave.”

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