Updated 04/25/13 – 3:43 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The confessed gunman in a triple murder in west suburban Darien three years ago took the stand Thursday in a DuPage County courtroom, and testified about being ordered to commit the murders by his friend, Johnny Borizov.
WBBM Newsradio’s Julie Mann reports 26-year-old Jacob Nodarse told jurors Borizov sold him drugs and scared him into committing the murders, convincing him he’d be killed if he did not.
As part of his plea deal, Nodarse agreed to testify against Borizov, who prosecutors have claimed ordered Nodarse to kill his ex-girlfriend and her family so that he could gain sole custody of his 13-month-old son.
The ex-girlfriend, Angela Kramer, was not harmed in the attack, but her father, mother and brother were killed by Nodarse.
Nodarse is the prosecution’s star witness against Borizov, who is accused of orchestrating the murders of Jeffrey and Lori Kramer and their son, Michael, to end a bitter child custody dispute with Angela Kramer, who survived the attack at the Kramer family home by hiding in a closet.
Borizov is being tried on charges of murder and murder solicitation for allegedly recruiting Nodarse to carry out the March 2, 2010 shooting attack inside the family’s Darien home.
Nodarse testified Borizov convinced him he had to commit the murders, telling him Michael Kramer and others were out to kill him. He said Borizov told him one of them would have to kill the Kramers, but Borizov couldn’t do it himself.
“He said, either he was going to have to do it, or I was going to have to do it, but he said in regards to himself that he … wouldn’t get away with it, that he would have motive. They would link him immediately, and he would definitely go to jail,” Nodarse said.
Nodarse detailed Borizov’s alleged plan for carrying out the killings, including what Nodarse should wear, what weapon he should use, and how he should break into the Kramers’ home.
“Then he told me that Tuesday at 3 a.m., that was the time that I should break into the house and commit the murders,” he said.
Nodarse has admitted killed Kramer’s parents, Jeffrey, 50, and Lori, 48, along with her 20-year-old brother, Michael.
On the witness stand, Nodarse detailed his addiction to prescription drugs, and how he met Borizov in in 2009.
He testified he bought $400 worth of drugs from Borizov every month, including pills like Vicodin and Oxycontin. He also said Borizov introduced him to a group of men – who he said were involved with organized crime – including multiple killers.
Nodarse also told the jury about a conversation he had with Borizov about that group.
“I told him that I just wanted to be drinking buddies; we could be friends, go out and hang out, but that I didn’t want no part in his activity, I didn’t want to get entangled into it, I didn’t want to get pulled into it,” Nodarse said.
When prosecutors asked if Borizov told him what he’d have to do to get in with that group, Nodarse said, “he stated many times before, many times earlier, to get in I would have to kill a person.”
Attorneys for the 31-year-old Borizov contend Nodarse — struggling with mental illness, along with drug and alcohol addictions — decided on his own to kill the family because of an ongoing dispute with Michael Kramer.
Earlier in the trial, Angela Kramer, 28, described in wrenching detail how she survived the attack by hiding in a closet and dialing 911.
She also recounted a series of clashes Borizov had with her parents and brother in the months before all three were murdered.
Her older brother, Anthony, on Wednesday also described the attack, telling jurors he awoke in his basement bedroom when he heard a loud noise “like a heavy object falling.”
Then screaming and gunshots erupted, he said.
“I heard my brother say, ‘Oh, my God,’ and I heard a gunshot go off,” Anthony Kramer said.
He heard more yells and a flurry of gunshots, then sudden silence.
Neither Anthony nor his sister ever saw the gunman who carried out the attack.