A DuPage County judge Monday approved the use of cameras at a high-profile murder trial scheduled for next month, but set limits on their number and barred certain witnesses from electronic scrutiny.
Judge Daniel Guerin ruled that cameras could be present during the April murder trial of Johnny Borizov, who is charged in the first-degree murders of a Darien couple and their son.
The Borizov trial will be the first criminal trial in DuPage to be photographed since the county began experimenting with courtroom cameras last fall. Cameras have been present for arraignments and shorter hearings, but not a trial, which will present some new issues for DuPage.
"Logistically, it's just more complicated," DuPage County Courts Administrator John Lapinski said.
DuPage County prosecutors and Borizov's attorneys had both objected to the presence of cameras when the trial starts on April 16, but Guerin overruled them. The judge did, however, set limitations.
Guerin said the cameras will have to be turned off when the three people testify who were in the Kramer residence at the time of the murders. That order would include Angela Kramer, whose custody battle with Borizov is at the heart of the murder allegations.
Authorities contend that Borizov, a Willow Springs resident, convinced a friend, Jacob Nodarse, to break into the residence in March 2010 and shoot Jeffrey Kramer, 50; his wife, Lori, 48; and their son, Michael, 20, because Borizov and Angela Kramer were embroiled in the child custody dispute.
Angela Kramer hid in a closet during the shooting and called 911, according to police. Another Kramer son and his guest were in the house, but escaped injury.
Although those witnesses are off limits, the judge ruled that the cameras could photograph Nodarse, who will testify as a prosecution witness. He has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder in the case.
Media representatives had asked for permission to place two video cameras and two still cameras inside the courtroom, but the judge said only one of each kind may be present. The judge set a hearing about a week before the trial to determine the exact placement of the cameras.
Lawyers for both sides must also inform their witnesses about the cameras. Under the rules, witnesses could object to being photographed, and the judge would make individual rulings.
The case will be back in court Wednesday for a hearing on the admissibility of hearsay statements reportedly made about Borizov by Jeffrey and Lori Kramer before their deaths.