Terrance Rankins’ mother raised her hand as she prepared to leave the Will County courthouse Friday.
She paused. And she offered five words.
“To God be the glory.”
Moments earlier, Jamille Kent watched Judge Gerald Kinney find 20-year-old Bethany McKee guilty of the January 2013 murders of Rankins and Eric Glover, both 22. Kent appeared to cry in the front row of the courtroom beside Glover’s mother, Nicole Jones, after the verdict was read.
McKee faces a mandatory term of life in prison at her sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 16.
She offered no reaction to the verdict, and she did not look back toward her family as she was led out of the courtroom.
“God did his job,” Jones said. “He did it. And I’m glad he did what he had to do.”
Kinney told a packed courtroom the evidence laid out in McKee’s six-day trial this month revealed “a stunning lack of respect for human life as well as a stunning lack of concern for the consequences of taking two human lives.”
McKee was arrested along with Joshua Miner, 26, Adam Landerman, 21, and Alisa Massaro, 20, after police found the bodies of Glover and Rankins on Jan. 10, 2013, on the second floor of Massaro’s home at 1121 N. Hickory St. in Joliet.
All four were charged with murder, but Massaro pleaded guilty to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for 10 years in prison. She also agreed to testify against her co-defendants. Miner and Landerman have yet to go to trial, but Miner’s is set for Sept. 22.
Miner and Landerman allegedly strangled Glover and Rankins to death after the two women left the room, according to evidence in McKee’s trial. But prosecutors put McKee on trial for their deaths under the legal theory of accountability.
Prosecutors said McKee plotted with her co-defendants to rob Rankins after she and her three friends ran out of money for booze and cigarettes.
That robbery turned fatal.
Kinney said McKee’s “mere presence” wasn’t enough to find her guilty. Nor was her simple knowledge that a crime was being committed.
The key, he said, was “shared criminal intent.”
Kinney said McKee lured Rankins and Glover to Massaro’s house even though she knew they’d been targeted for a robbery. She left the room when Miner signaled her, and she lied to Massaro’s father about what was happening in the upstairs apartment where the men were killed.
McKee spent some of the $120 netted from the robbery to buy gas and cigarettes, the judge said, and she later held a lamp so the others could put a bag over one victim’s head.
She stole from Glover’s car and told her friends “you got to get them out of here” after she realized the men were dead. She also called her father for help hiding the bodies.
All the while, McKee could have been fleeing in her car, warning Rankins about the robbery plot, or asking Massaro’s father for help, the judge said.
Or she could have called the police.
McKee’s trial revealed sordid details about the hours after the men’s deaths. Members of the group allegedly hit one of the corpses with a heavy liquor bottle, shouted racial epithets and fantasized about cutting a victim’s face off to wear as a mask.
But Miner appeared to be the driving force behind it all, and an evaluation of his sanity at the time of the killings is not complete. That could potentially delay his trial.
Whenever Miner does go to trial, a spokesman for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has said the county’s top prosecutor will personally handle the case.
“We’re not done yet,” Kent said after Friday’s verdict. “It’s a relief, but we’re not done yet.”