By DANNY CIAMPRONE - firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013
WHEATON – Angela Kramer clutched her sunglasses, keeping her head down as the jury was led back into the courtroom Tuesday evening after a little more than two hours of deliberating the fate of Johnny Borizov.
But Angela and the rest of the Kramer family got the verdict they had been longing to hear for more than three years – guilty on all counts.
Sitting at the end of the second row in the DuPage County Courthouse, Angela Kramer immediately burst into tears of jubilation and relief as relatives hugged, clapped and whipped away tears.
The other side of the courtroom painted a different picture as Borizov sat deadpan – the same cool demeanor he displayed since the start of the trial. Members of his family sat calmly after the verdict as well.
After a four-week trial, a jury found Borizov guilty on Tuesday of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of solicitation of murder. The 31-year-old was convicted of orchestrating the murders of Lori, Jeff and Michael Kramer of Darien in March 2010 by convincing his friend, Jacob Nodarse, to shoot them to death in their home.
Nodarse, 26, formerly of Countryside, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the crimes and is expected to be sentenced after the Borizov trial.
Phrases such as, "It's over," were heard among the courtroom crowd Tuesday night.
Borizov, of Willow Springs, decided not to testify during the trial.
Following the verdict, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin spoke with friends and members of the Kramer family. He commemorated the work of the prosecutor team, which included Joe Ruggiero, Bernie Murray and Amanda Meindl.
Lori Kramer's father, Bill Svatos, also spoke after the verdict.
"The last 3.5 weeks, I cannot explain to you how emotionally stressful it was," said Svatos, who wept when Borizov was found guilty.
During closing statements on Tuesday, prosecutors recalled Borizov's anger issues and routinely referred to him allegedly using fear tactics to force Nodarse to carry out the murders.
"It was [Borizov's] intent, his plan and eventually his motivation that carried out the slaughter of the Kramer family," said Murray, assistant state's attorney, during his closing argument.
Defense attorney Susana Ortiz continued to pin the blame on Nodarse – saying the trial wasn't about Borizov, but what Nodarse admitted to doing.
"When it comes to Jacob Nodarse, I guess the question before us is, how does his sick mind do what it does?" Ortiz asked jurors.
Borizov's attorneys expressed disappointment over the verdict and said they were "surprised" by how quick the jury came back with a verdict.
"We have every intention of filing an appeal," said defense attorney Richard Kling.
Borizov was convicted on three counts first-degree murder for each of the deceased Kramers, as well as solicitation of murder of his ex-girlfriend, Angela Kramer. The two had been in a child custody battle over their toddler son during the time of the killings.
A sentencing date will be set during a post-trial hearing on June 27.