WHEATON – Johnny Borizov was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Judge Daniel Guerin at the DuPage County Courthouse.
After a four-week trial that started in April, a jury found Borizov guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of solicitation of murder for orchestrating the murders of Lori, Jeff and Michael Kramer at their Darien home in March 2010.
"I never stop thinking of them and how Jeff, Lori and Michael suffered in their last minutes," Judith Pokorny, Jeff Kramer's mother, said at the sentencing hearing. "I wish Johnny Borizov could suffer as much and be the one being put in the ground."
On Monday, Borizov received natural life sentences, to be served consecutively, for each of the first-degree murder counts. Guerin also sentenced Borizov to the maximum 30 years for the solicitation charge.
Angela Kramer, daughter of Jeff and Lori, read a poem she started writing days after the murders and finished a year later.
"I finish this now with not a goodbye, but see you later because some day I will see you, Mom, Dad and Michael, again. Until then all I can do is live on the memories we had."
She added, "I am a victim and my family are victims of such a senseless crime that I'm here today to say we will no longer be victims. After today, I'm going to go on happily with my life."
Earlier on Monday, the judge denied the defense's motion for a new trial.
"I have some satisfaction," Pokorny said, "but nothing can replace my dear Jeff, my loving Lori and my wonderful Michael."
Borizov, 31 of Willow Springs, was found guilty of convincing his mentally ill friend, Jacob Nodarse, to shoot them at their home.
Borizov did not speak at the sentencing hearing. Defense attorney Susana Oritz read a prepared statement that she said she and Borizov prepared together. In it, Borizov maintained his innocence.
"I will profess my innocence until my last breath."
Throughout the trial, prosecutors painted Borizov as someone with severe anger issues toward the Kramer family and toward Angela Kramer, the mother of Borizov's son. Prosecutors also referred to him as 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 Bernie Murray, assistant state's attorney, during his closing argument in May.
Ortiz pinned the murders squarely 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 during her closing argument.
Nodarse, 26, formerly of Countryside, faces 45 years to life in prison. Nodarse's sentencing date is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Borizov will now be transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections and will then be sentenced to a state facility.