The first Chicago-area trial to allow cameras in court during testimony got under way Tuesday with prosecutors describing the defendant as a "master manipulator."
Prosecutors say Johnny Borizov was going through a child custody battle with Angela Kramer when he allegedly persuaded Jacob Nodarse to kill her family.
"Jake, kick in the door or break through a window, and once you get inside, Jake, stay committed," prosecutor Joe Ruggiero told jurors in relaying Borizov's purported words to Nodarse. "You've got to stay committed, Jake. Kill everybody in the house."
Angela Kramer and another family member escaped the slayings, but Kramer's brother, Mike Kramer, and parents, Jeffrey Kramer and Lori Kramar, were shot and killed during the early morning break-in at the family's home in March 2010.
Nodarse was arrested in Florida a day after the murders and pleaded guilty in 2011 to the death of Jeffrey Kramer as part of a plea deal and charges for the other two murders were dropped. Nodarse agreed to testify against Borizov as part of the deal.
"[Borizov] would try to manipulate this guy, Jake, by telling him, 'Yeah, I've got this crew of guys. They work for me. They do stuff. They kill people. They sell drugs for me. We can get things done. You're OK. You're with us,'" Ruggiero told the court.
Defense attorney Paul DeLuca said the evidence would show Nodarse acted alone, fueled by drug abuse and mental illness.
"He went there with his own hammer. He went there with his own gun. He went there with his own cocktail of drugs ... mixed in with alcohol. And he went there with his own demons, his own fears, his own psychotic thoughts, his own paranoia," said DeLuca.
Borizov said in 2011 he wanted a quick trial. Last month a DuPage County judge approved using cameras in the courtroom during the trial, though certain witnesses will be barred from taping, including Angela Kramer.
Prosecutors' spokesman Paul Darrah said there will be one video and one still camera in the courtroom. The video camera is locked in place so it can't inadvertently swing toward jurors. There will be 10 witnesses cameras won't be able to shoot. They also can't capture jurors' faces.