Johnny Borizov so despised his ex-girlfriend's family that he told her he wanted to see them "in body bags," the woman testified at the outset of Borizov's trial in the slayings of her parents and brother.
Angela Kramer was the main witness heard Tuesday by a DuPage County jury that will determine Borizov's fate. The Willow Springs man is accused of goading a friend into killing Jeffrey Kramer, his wife, Lori, and their son, Michael, 20, at the family home in Darien in 2010.
In opening statements, prosecutors said that a custody fight between Angela Kramer over the infant son she had with Borizov, 31, and his toxic relationship with the Kramers led to the slayings. Portions of the trial are being videotaped and photographed — the first such recording of a trial in the Chicago area.
Kramer, 28, wearing a green blouse and black slacks, spent two hours on the stand. She recounted events that led to the slayings, including an argument between the couple on Dec. 26, 2009, the day Kramer said she left Borizov and moved back to her parents' house. Borizov had forbidden her from taking the baby to see her family on Christmas, she said.
"He told me he hated my family and the only way he'll see my family is in body bags," Kramer testified.
Prosecutors also played the first two minutes of Kramer's 911 call on the morning of the slayings. Dispatchers kept asking her to repeat her location, and it sounded as if Kramer was trying to whisper.
She testified that when she heard the sound of shattering glass followed by gunshots about 3 a.m. March 2, she bolted up in bed and peered out her bedroom door. She said she heard more shots and the screams of her parents. Kramer said she then locked the door, took shelter into her closet with one of the family dogs, and called police.
She described later seeing the bodies of her parents — her father on the main floor and her mother on a landing area — as police led her out of the house about an hour after the shootings. Her son was with Borizov's family that night. Her older brother, Anthony, was home but was not injured, and Michael Kramer's girlfriend was there, but was able to run out of the house.
Prosecutors said a friend of Borizov's, Jacob Nodarse, committed the shootings at Borizov's behest. Assistant State's Attorney Joe Ruggiero, in his opening statement, said Borizov manipulated Nodarse over a period of months to convince him to commit the slayings. Nodarse, who has history of mental illness, has admitted shooting the Kramers and will testify as a prosecution witness. Borizov is charged with murder, solicitation and conspiracy.
"You've got Jacob Nodarse, a guy who could not be any easier to manipulate, and you've got a master manipulator," Ruggiero said.
But defense attorney Paul DeLuca said Nodarse alone bore responsibility for the killings and committed them in a haze of mental illness and heavy drug and
"This trial is about Jake Nodarse, not Johnny Borizov," said DeLuca.
"He still loves Angela Kramer to this day," he said. "She's the mother of his child."
Kramer said she knew Borizov as a motorcycle riding pal of her fiance, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2007. About six months later, she and Borizov started dating and she got pregnant in 2008.
The couple moved into a house in Countryside. Kramer said they often argued because Borizov tried to keep Kramer from her family. She described several volatile incidents.
Borizov drew a knife on her father in April 2009, Angela said, in a dispute over a used car Jeffrey Kramer had bought for his father. At a baby shower, Borizov brusquely threw his 3-month-old son into a baby car seat, and then used the seat to fend off Lori Kramer and her mother, Angela Kramer said.
In January 2010, Kramer said she found Borizov tossing her clothes and other items onto their lawn. He then intentionally bumped into the car she was driving, Kramer said, even after Kramer told him their son was in the vehicle.
A video of the incident she took with her cellphone was played in court. "He's hitting the car and (the son) is in the car and he knows he's in the car," she said, narrating the video. "He's throwing out my (stuff). Why is he doing this?"