Slain man’s family, friends protest plea deal
By Susan DeMar Lafferty firstname.lastname@example.org May 29, 2014 5:38PM
Lena and Niya King, friends of the late Eric Glover's family, join dozens of protestors in front of the Will County courthouse to demand that justice be served to those accused in the murders of Glover and his friend Terrance Rankins. | Susan DeMar Lafferty/Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2014 6:28AM
An angry group of family and friends of Eric Glover gathered Thursday in front of the Will County Courthouse to protest a plea bargaining agreement for one of his four accused killers.
Prosecutors last week dropped a first-degree murder charge against Alisa Massaro, 20, in exchange for her pleading guilty to lesser charges of robbery and concealing a homicide, receiving a 10-year prison term and agreeing to testify against the three other defendants.
Joshua Miner, 25, Adam Landerman, 20, and Bethany McKee, 19, will be tried separately for the January 2013 strangulation murders of Glover and his friend, Terrance Rankins, both 22, at Massaro’s father’s house, 1121 Hickory St., Joliet. They are accused of robbing the men of drugs and money after killing them.
At Massaro’s plea hearing last week, a prosecutor said Massaro was in the house when the men were killed but the murders occurred outside her presence.
Thursday’s protest, organized through social media, drew dozens who carried signs saying, “We want justice,” and “No plea for murder.”
“You know it’s a hate crime,” the Rev. Craig Purchase, president of Joliet’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, shouted to the crowd about the slayings.
“You know it would have been different if two white girls were killed by black men,” Glover’s sister, Lytierra Williams, said.
Family members wore T-shirts with photos of Glover and hoped to send a message to State’s Attorney James Glasgow that they were upset with Massaro’s “light” sentence and expected his office to take the others to trial.
Williams described Massaro’s 10-year sentence as “something you would give a drug dealer. She deserves life. Illinois needs to bring back the death penalty.”
“It’s wrong. That’s all I can say,” Glover’s mother, Nicole Jones, said of the plea deal. ”When I want to see my son, I got to see him six feet under dirt and his name on a slab. I can’t hold him. I can’t talk to him. I can’t feel him. My baby is gone.”
“She (Massaro) knew what happened to my son and his friend, Terrance,” Jones said. “You think you’re getting away with something? You ain’t getting away with nothing. Nothing.”
Purchase said the plea agreement is “insult to the community. We need justice right now.” He disputed reports that Glover and Rankins were lured to Massaro’s house for drugs and money, calling them “model children in our community.”
“Mr. Glasgow, this is your child, too,” he said, referring to Glover. “We are sick and tired of watching the hearse go by, and no one is held accountable for it.”
Purchase reminded people to take their concerns about gun and street violence to the ballot box.
“It’s unbelievable,” Jared Gerencher, of Joliet, who played semi-pro football with Glover, said of Massaro’s plea deal. “She should not get a break. My buddy didn’t get a break. He was a true champion who was taken too early.”
Another demonstrator, Robert Hernandez, of Joliet, recalled that Glasgow lobbied for new legislation and was able to convict former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson of killing his third wife based on “circumstantial evidence.”
“He had enough evidence in that (Massaro’s) house to convict all four and he made a deal,” Hernandez said.
Jones acknowledged that prosecutors did explain Massaro’s plea agreement to her before it was approved by Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney but said she did not realize that the murder charge would be dropped.
“She deserves to suffer like the rest of them,” Jones said.
Chuck Pelkie, spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, said they were “very upfront” with Glover’s and Rankin’s families about Massaro’s plea deal.
“I would not say they were happy or pleased, but they understood our position,” he said.
The deal was offered to Massaro because prosecutors were “100 percent certain” that statements she made to police would not be admissible in court because of “constitutional issues,” Pelkie said, without elaborating because of a gag order in the case.
After analyzing the admissible evidence, prosecutors decided to negotiate the plea deal, which resulted in a conviction and imprisonment for Massaro, and her truthful testimony in prosecuting the others, he said.
“This was the best disposition for this case,” Pelkie said.
He declined to comment on whether there would be additional plea agreements in the case but said the office is “committed to prosecuting the remaining defendants to the fullest extent of the law.”