Plea deal reached for man accused in 3 murders
September 20, 2011 (WHEATON, Ill.) -- A Countryside man pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of murder Tuesday in connection with the murders of three members of the same southwest suburban family.
Jacob Nodarse, 25, is accused of murdering Jeffrey and Lori Kramer, and their 20-year-old son, Michael, inside the family's Darien home in 2010.
In the agreement, Nodarse admitted firing the gun that killed Jeffrey Kramer. The state will drop 22 other charges against him. Nodarse will testify against his friend Johnny Borizov - the alleged orchestrator of the murder plan. Borizov was in the midst of a custody dispute with Angela Kramer over their young son.
The deal will send Nodarse to prison for at least 45 years, but his testimony agaist Borizov could spare him the life sentence he'd otherwise get.
"The family and everybody knows this is a tragic event for everybody, and they wanted some resolution to it," said Nodarse's attorney, Randy Ruekert.
Nodarse's family declined comment on leaving the courthouse today. So did the victims' family.
Prosecutors say Nodarse shot the Kramers after he was ordered to do so by Borizov, who was involved in a bitter custody battle with the Kramers' daughter, Angela. She managed to survive by hiding in a closet and calling 911.
Borizov pleaded not guilty on charges of murder and solicitation.
Prosecutors say Nodarse opened fire at 3 a.m. after using a hammer to break into the house. He is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and home invasion.
Nodarse has a history of mental instability, but a court still found him fit to stand trial. It appears the case will not get that far as a plea deal is being discussed.
"He's remorseful for what happened," Ruekert said. "He feels horrible about it. I think everyday that realization sinks in more and more"
The Kramers' daughter was present at the court house Tuesday. So, were several members of the defendant's family.
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