The alleged ringleader behind the strangling deaths of two men on Hickory Street in Joliet last year could go to trial late next month.
Will County Judge Gerald Kinney scheduled Joshua Miner’s murder trial for Sept. 22 during a court appearance Thursday for Miner, 26, and Adam Landerman, 21. But the trial could be postponed if a pending evaluation of Miner’s sanity at the time of the killings is not complete.
A spokesman for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has said the county’s top prosecutor will personally handle the case, whenever it goes to trial.
Miner and Landerman were arrested and charged with murder along with Bethany McKee and Alisa Massaro, both 20, after Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover, both 22, were found dead Jan. 10, 2013 in Massaro’s home at 1121 N. Hickory St.
McKee’s six-day bench trial ended Tuesday, and Kinney said he will announce his verdict in that case Aug. 29. Massaro pleaded guilty in May to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for a 10-year prison term; she was a key prosecution witness against McKee.
But evidence in McKee’s trial revealed Miner as the alleged mastermind behind the deaths of the two men, who were lured to Massaro’s home under the pretense they would be partying with her and McKee.
Miner, Landerman, McKee and Massaro had actually concocted a plan to rob Rankins for money for booze and cigarettes, according to prosecutors. Rankins brought Glover along with him to the house.
McKee and Massaro said they left the upstairs apartment of the home, where all six had been partying, after Miner gave Massaro a signal. But McKee said she saw Miner hit Rankins as the attack began. She also said she heard Rankins cry, “What did I do? Why are you doing this?”
Later, Massaro testified she tried to go back upstairs, but the door to the apartment was closed and locked. Still, she said she heard Miner’s voice saying “die, die” on the other side of the door.
A forensic pathologist testified the two men were strangled, and she said such a death takes at least three-and-a-half minutes of constant pressure.
Miner, Landerman and Massaro allegedly beat the bodies with a heavy liquor bottle after they were dead. Massaro acknowledged in a videotaped police interview that she had sex with Miner on the corpses, but she denied it in court.
McKee told police in her own videotaped interview that Miner also fantasized about cutting one victim’s face off and wearing it as a mask, like in a horror movie.
She laid blame for the slayings squarely on Miner, who she said was “crazy.” She said she knew what would happen if she hadn’t gone along with his plan.
“All three of us would have been dead,” McKee said.