Judge seals court files in Joliet’s Hickory Street murders
By Janet Lundquist and Cindy Wojdyla Cain Staff writers March 1, 2013 10:38AM
Adam M. Landerman (clockwise, from top left), Alisa R. Massaro, Joshua F. Miner and Bethany L. McKee | Supplied photos
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:39AM
Will County Judge Gerald Kinney on Friday sealed the court files and ordered law enforcement and attorneys not to talk publicly about Joliet’s Hickory Street double murder, in response to police reports that were leaked to the media.
Kinney also told defense attorneys to investigate whether police reports were leaked by anyone in their offices.
“It’s problematic, and it’s something that, I think, needs to be looked into,” Kinney said. “Each of you should determine whether or not this was done by a member of your staff.”
New details emerged last week in the Jan. 10 strangulation murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22. Joliet Patch first reported based off police reports that two of the four people charged in the killings — Joshua Miner, 24, and his girlfriend, Alisa Massaro, 18 — had sex on top of the victims’ bodies.
Adam Landerman , 19, the son of a female Joliet police sergeant, and 18-year-old Bethany McKee are also charged in the killings that shook Joliet.
All four assailants have been charged with first-degree murder and remain in custody on $10 million bond. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is personally prosecuting the case.
Friday court hearing
Eight defense attorneys stood up for the four defendants in court Friday, and they all joined in a motion by attorney Chuck Bretz, who represents McKee, for an order sealing the court files and prohibiting law enforcement and attorneys from talking to the press about the case.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor said prosecutors would not object to the order.
Kinney issued the order, which will last at least through March 11, the next court date for the four accused.
Kinney said defense attorneys should go through their staffs’ email, cell phones and computers to find out if it was leaked from one of their offices.
“Everyone knows the rules,” Kinney said. “I’m not saying I know who did it, but discovery has been tendered to the media.”
The suspects had a plan to dismember the victims’ bodies that included keeping the victims’ teeth as trophies.
The plan, according to one police report, was based on Miner remembering Massaro confiding once she wanted to have sex with a dead man.
It all began with an alleged invitation to Rankins by McKee to have sex with her and Massaro at Massaro’s house — and to bring marijuana and booze with him. Rankins reportedly invited Glover to tag along.
Instead, the two soon-to-be murder victims wound up playing video games, and according to one police report, a struggle ensued when Miner struck Rankins for “fooling around” with McKee, who had asked him to stop. One police report alleges the two women departed before the violence began and were afraid of the bodies when they returned.
The men were murdered in the Massaro home while her father, Phillip, was asleep on the couch a floor below the murder scene.
McKee told police that when Massaro’s dad awoke he told them to quit the racket — which he was told was caused by a broken TV — or he’d call the police. He did not.
After the men were killed, the assailants reportedly concocted a plan to get rid of the bodies and considered torching the victims’ car with the bodies inside. Instead, they left the bodies inside the house, dumped the car in a parking lot and headed to Walgreens for a soda and something to eat before going back to the house.
McKee called her father, William, and he called the Shorewood police. Shorewood police then contacted Joliet officers. When Joliet police arrived at the grisly scene, Miner, Massaro and Landerman were there, and all three were arrested. The victims, who were found inside the house, had plastic bags tied around their heads.
McKee, who has a baby daughter, had already left the murder scene when the police arrived and was picked up by police in Kankakee en route to visit the child’s father.
Some of the accused told police the plan was to rob Rankins and Glover. Instead, the men wound up dead.
Fair trial issue raised
Defense Attorney Edward Jaquays questioned whether the four young people can get a fair trial now that the police reports have been made public.
Authorities have kept a tight lip on details surrounding the case, claiming they did not want to jeopardize it.
Joliet Chief Mike Trafton said previously that the release of the police reports was not authorized.
Bretz said an attorney would violate Illinois Supreme Court rules if he or she disclosed the report. Bretz is concerned the news stories quote alleged statements that may not be admissible in court.
He told Kinney no one in his office leaked the police reports, and speculated it may have been leaked by someone in the Joliet Police Department.
Bretz also subpoenaed all the police reports and other documents from the Patch.com reporter who wrote the story based on the reports.
Patch.com spokesman Joe Wiggins said the company does not comment on litigation matters.
The victims’ family members, who say authorities had not told them much about what happened, were shocked to hear the details.
Rodrick Kent, one of Rankins’ relatives, said his family members met with members of the state’s attorney’s office this week and were told no information would be released until the trial. Authorities did not verify the report or offer any information on what happened to Rankins and Glover, he said.
“I wish the press would just back off,” said Rankins’ mother, Jamille Kent, outside the courtroom. “Let us grieve. Be respectful for us, I lost my child.
“Just leave us alone,” she said.
Glover’s fiance, Heather Gossman, said she and Glover’s other family members were told the same thing as Rankins’ family.
McKee’s father said he’s not been told of such details and questioned how someone else could get the information. He, too, wondered whether his daughter would be able to get a fair trial.
Still, McKee said he did not want to take attention away from the grief of the victims’ families.
“What’s happening with this story can’t be easy for the victims’ families,” McKee said.