Woman found guilty in Joliet double murder - FOX 35 News Orlando

Woman found guilty in Joliet double murder

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Bethany McKee (Will County Sheriff's Office) Bethany McKee (Will County Sheriff's Office)
JOLIET, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Will County judge on Friday found a 20-year-old woman guilty in a 2013 double murder in Joliet that generated headlines for its brutality, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Judge Gerald Kinney found Bethany McKee guilty of the murders of Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover, both 22. Their bodies were discovered Jan. 10, 2013, at 1121 N. Hickory St.

McKee faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The judge said the facts of the case revealed a “stunning lack of respect for human life.”

Prosecutors said the killers of the two men wanted money for booze and cigarettes, and the proceeds of the robbery netted them only $120.

Also charged with the murders were Joshua Miner, 26, Adam Landerman, 21, and Alisa Massaro, 20 who lived in the home where the bodies were found. Miner and Landerman have yet to go on trial — Miner's trial is set for Sept. 22 — but Massaro pleaded guilty to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for 10 years in prison. She testified against McKee and has has agreed to testify against the two men.

McKee waived her right to a jury trial, so Kinney decided her fate.

Prosecutors used McKee's six-day trial to paint a narrative that began Jan. 9, 2013, when McKee, Massaro, Miner and Landerman ran out of booze and cigarettes — and needed cash to buy more.

Massaro testified that McKee suggested Rankins as a robbery target because he was known to carry a lot of cash. She also said McKee placed the phone call that lured Rankins and Glover to the house under the pretense that they'd be partying with the two women.

Once the men arrived, Miner allegedly gave a “signal” to Massaro, who testified she persuaded McKee to leave the upstairs bedroom where all six were drinking and smoking marijuana. McKee told police in a recorded interview that she saw Miner attack Rankins as Rankins cried: “What did I do? Why are you doing this?”

Massaro's father testified he was trying to sleep on the couch downstairs at the time, but Massaro made an excuse when he asked about the noise from above. McKee, who had her 15-month-old daughter with her, said she left the house to drop the girl off with a friend and buy gas and cigarettes. When she returned, McKee told police, Rankins and Glover were dead.

The sordid details of the hours that followed allegedly involved liquor-bottle beatings of the two victims, racial epithets and a sick fantasy — never acted upon — of wearing a victim's face as a mask. McKee didn't participate in those activities, but she admitted that she kicked one of the bodies at Miner's urging.

Massaro acknowledged in a recorded police interview having sex with Miner on the victims' bodies, but she later denied it in court. Landerman also brought tools over to the house to help dispose of the bodies, including a propane torch, shears, knives, scissors and a hacksaw. The plan short-circuited when McKee called her father for help getting rid of the corpses.

William McKee called police instead.

“I asked her, ‘Were you involved?'” William McKee said on a recording of that phone call to police that was played during the trial. “And she said, ‘Yes.'”

McKee's defense attorney, Chuck Bretz, said his client was charged with the wrong crime. There's not enough evidence to find her guilty of murder, he said. And he argued every piece of physical evidence corroborated what McKee told police.

But prosecutors told Kinney that, even though McKee wasn't in the room when the men were killed, she helped her friends plan what turned out to be a fatal robbery.

“When she's in for a penny, she's in for a pound,” Assistant State's Attorney Dan Walsh said. “And when she's in for the robbery, she's in for the homicide too, and that makes her guilty.”

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