Families mourn two young men found strangled in Joliet home
By Brian Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org January 11, 2013 8:58AM
Adam M. Landerman (clockwise, from top left), Alisa R. Massaro, Joshua F. Miner and Bethany L. McKee | Supplied photos
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:41AM
JOLIET — Exactly what enticed Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins into the home on Hickory Street where they would be gruesomely killed, authorities still aren’t saying.
What is certain, according to police, is that the two close friends were lured there and they didn’t make it out alive. Police say they were strangled and their alleged killers tried to dismember them before going back to partying and playing video games.
“This is one of the most brutal, heinous and upsetting things I’ve ever seen in my 27 years of law enforcement,” Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton said Friday in describing what police found at 1121 N. Hickory St. “Not only the crime scene, but the disregard for common decency toward human beings.”
Four young adults have been charged with the murders — among them the 19-year-old son of a Joliet police sergeant.
The bodies were discovered after police received a call at 4 p.m. Thursday. But police have not said how long they were dead. And, one of the victim’s mother fears her son may have been dead the night before.
“I believe it happened Wednesday night,” Jamille Kent said.
Kent said her son, Rankins, 22, and Glover, also 22, left her house at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. Rankins regularly was home by 11 p.m., his mother said. So, when he was not home that night, she tried to contact him.
“I texted first and said, ‘What time will you be here?’ ” Kent said. “When he didn’t answer my text, I called him. His phone rang once and went into voice mail.”
Kent said she kept calling her son because he typically called back. But her next calls went straight into voice mail with the phone not even ringing.
Police said the victims were friends with their accused murderers.
The four people charged with their murder: Adam M. Landerman, 19, 1053 Glenwood Ave.; Alisa R. Massaro, 18, 1121 N. Hickory; Bethany L. McKee, 18, 200 Westshore, Shorewood; and Joshua F. Miner, 24, 604 W. Jefferson St.
Landerman is the son of Joliet police Sgt. Julie Larson, authorities confirmed. Miner previously was convicted of residential burglary and was arrested for criminal damage to property.
All four are being held in lieu of $10 million bail. Of those four, Kent said she had only heard one of the names before and that was only last week. On Tuesday, she talked with her son on the phone.
“He said he was with a friend,” Kent said. She asked who the friend was. “He said, ‘Bethany.’ ”
When police arrived at the house on Thursday, they noticed movement inside so they went in, Trafton said. He said Landerman, Massaro and Miner were playing video games and were “very much surprised” when police came in. McKee had left before police arrived but was picked up by authorities in Kankakee, police said.
Autopsies performed Friday by the Will County coroner’s office determined that the men were strangled. Police would not say who is suspected of physically killing them.
Police Cmdr. Brian Benton said detectives believe Glover and Rankins were robbed and that no one besides the suspects and victims were present.
All four are charged under a theory of accountability for planning and participating in the robbery that led to the deaths of Glover and Rankins, State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.
Rankins and Glover had been friends for five years, Kent said. She said Saturday that she has not yet learned details of her son’s death other than that he was strangled.
Glover was a solid student and three-sport athlete during his days at Joliet Central High School, reflecting the values of his parents and inspiring his younger brother, his family said Friday night.
“He was an excellent child in all senses of the word,” said Bobby Jones, his stepfather. “If Eric was here today, which he is in spirit, I can see Eric smiling because I’ve always felt that way about him.”
“He was a good son, he always listened,” said Nicole Jones, his mother, as his family mourned his death at their Joliet home.
Glover graduated from Joliet Central in 2008, capping off a school career in which he made the honor roll several times and participated in football, wrestling and track. Earlier in his school years, Glover played basketball at Woodland Elementary School and basketball and wrestling at Washington Junior High School.
Glover also played minor league football on the Bolingbrook Buccaneers and the Illinois Gators, his family said. His younger brother, Drakkar Williams, plays outside linebacker at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif.
“He taught me how to hit, he taught me to strive for my goals and to never give up in adversity,” Williams said.
Mark Johnson, of Joliet, another younger brother, said Glover was a positive person, a good influence who did not want his siblings getting in trouble and a funny person with a good personality.
“The last thing I said to him was, ‘I love you,’ and he gave me a hug,” Johnson said. “For something like this to happen is tragic for our family.”
Glover was arrested by Joliet police in December 2009 on charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unauthorized possession of a firearm, unauthorized possession of ammunition and marijuana possession.
He served three weeks in jail for reportedly failing to appear in court on those charges.
Rankins graduated from Joliet West High School.
Kent described her son as “a very outgoing, loving, fun person.”
Rankins’ parents had divorced several years ago. His father, Cameron Hosey, has severe arthritis and needs a cane to get about. Rankins often came back to help his father with household chores.
“If I needed him, I’d call him and he’d come by to help me out,” Hosey said.
He described his son as “an everyday kid” who died too soon.
“He’s supposed to be burying me,” Hosey said. “I’m not supposed to be burying him.”
According to booking records at the Will County Jail, the only suspect living at 1121 N. Hickory was Massaro.
Phillip Massaro, Alisa Massaro’s father, said he was in disbelief at the accusations against his daughter.
“All I can say is it’s a terrible thing that happened, and I can’t believe my daughter had anything to do with it,” he said in a brief telephone interview. “I don’t know what happened. I just don’t know what to say. I can’t really talk about it. I’m too devastated, and I can’t talk about it.”
Melodie Miner, the mother of Joshua Miner, also said she could not believe her son was involved in the killings, saying “there’s no way my son can do this.”
A neighbor who lives near the house where the killings occurred said young people appeared to be going in and out of the house often, and she did not know who lived there.
Delfina Leardi, who has lived in the neighborhood for 50 years, said she could not sleep after she learned what happened.
“These young people, I wish they were like us when we were young,” Leardi said. “I feel bad for these young people.”
Contributing: Tony Graf, Bob Okon and Casey Toner