Judge considers having reporter explain how he got murder reports
By Jon Seidel Sun-Times Media August 7, 2013 10:38PM
Adam M. Landerman (clockwise, from top left), Alisa R. Massaro, Joshua F. Miner and Bethany L. McKee | Supplied photos
Updated: September 9, 2013 3:04PM
A Will County judge is considering putting a news reporter on the witness stand to find out how he got his hands on police reports describing allegations in a double murder in Joliet this year.
Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney heard long arguments Wednesday from attorneys for patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey and Bethany McKee, one of four people charged in the January stranglings of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins.
Hosey used a set of police reports he obtained to write a series of stories about the killings. McKee’s lawyers want to know who leaked the reports and are asking the judge to require Hosey to be questioned under oath.
Hosey first exposed the salacious claims that two of McKee’s co-defendants, Joshua Miner and Alisa Massaro, had sex on the bodies of the victims. A source has confirmed for the Chicago Sun-Times that the detail appears in the reports, which contain conflicting interviews.
The bodies of Glover and Rankins, both of Joliet, were found Jan. 10 in Massaro’s parents’ house on Hickory Street.
Adam Landerman also is charged with McKee, Miner and Massaro with first-degree murder. All four them appeared Wednesday in the courtroom, where Kinney eventually had to cut off the arguing lawyers.
Ken Schmetterer, Hosey’s attorney, said divesting a news reporter of the privilege to protect his sources under Illinois law should only be done in “very rare, very extreme, last resort circumstances.”
“What they’re asking for today is unprecedented,” Schmetterer said of McKee’s lawyers.
Neil Patel, an attorney for McKee, didn’t deny that putting Hosey on the stand would have a chilling effect on the First Amendment. But he said his client’s rights to a fair trial and due process might have been violated.
When the hearing ended, Kinney said he has an obligation to make sure the rules of the court are followed. He said he would make his ruling in a written opinion.