Four young adults in Illinois are accused of strangling two other friends and trying to dismember their bodies — an alleged murder plot so “heinous” that the Will County state’s attorney said Monday he will personally prosecute the case.
When cops arrived Thursday to the Joliet home where the victims’ lifeless bodies were found, investigators say three of the suspects were 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,” Police Chief Mike Trafton said. “Not only the crime scene, but the disregard for common decency toward human beings.”
Charged with first-degree murder are Joshua Miner, 24; Alisa Massaro, 18; Bethany McKee, 18; and Adam Landerman, 19, whose mother is also a Joliet police sergeant. The group allegedly called Eric Glover and Terrence Rankin, both 22, over to Massaro’s home, police said.
Glover and Rankin were likely caught off guard before they were robbed and killed by their own friends, the victims’ families say.
Authorities said the suspects allegedly wanted to dismember the men, but the Will County coroner said their bodies were found whole, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Massaro, Miner and Landerman were at the home when police got there. McKee, who had left, was later picked up.
Family members of the victims said they called police Thursday night when they hadn’t heard from them. A friend said she spoke with one of the victims before he died and knew he was with the group. “It’s not like he was in a strange place. He was comfortable,” friend Kasey Smith told reporters Monday.
Trafton said the suspects were “very much surprised” when authorities arrived to Massaro’s home. They appeared in court Monday, and Circuit Court Judge Roger Rickmon upheld bail at $10 million. Their next court date is scheduled for Feb. 5. Of all the suspects, Miner has the most extensive criminal record.
He previously pleaded guilty to unauthorized videotaping involving child pornography when he was 16. Three years ago, he was also convicted of a residential burglary and was ordered into a state boot camp program. Miner’s mother, Melodie Miner, told The Herald-News that “there’s no way my son can do this.”
Nicole Jones, the mother of victim Eric Glover said ‘Every court date, every day, I’m gonna be there.’ Friends and family of the victims said the young men were “well-mannered,” played sports in high school and didn’t run with gangs. “It’s just senseless,” said Glover’s mother, Nicole Jones. “It’s hard for me to say the words.”
George Leftridge, a friend of the victims, said it was “diabolical acting” for Glover and Rankin to be allegedly murdered and possibly dismembered. “You just don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Yeah I’m fixing to go behead somebody, or chop somebody up,” Leftridge told reporters. “This is something that had been brewing in their system for a long time.”
He suggested the suspects were involved in drugs, although police haven’t said any more about the motive for the attacks. But given what happened, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said he wants to prosecute the case himself. “This is my home. My children live here,” Glasgow said. “This case is something that I think it’s the responsibility of the elected prosecutor to prosecute.”
Bill McKee, the father of suspect Bethany McKee, gave his condolences to the victims’ families outside of court Monday, according to the Sun-Times. “This is a surprise to us, no matter what anyone says,” Bill McKee said. “We’re giving it to God at this point.”
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