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Defendant in Joliet double-murder waives right to jury trial

A defendant in a grisly double-murder in Joliet has waived his right to a jury trial.

Joshua Miner is accused of killing Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22, in January 2013.

After the judge ruled on the jury trial issue, court recessed for the day.

Miner’s attorney, Michael Renzi, said his client had been “leaning toward” asking for a bench trial since last week.

Renzi expects the trial to be more “streamlined” than a jury trial and said it could be concluded by early next week.

Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the judge is expected to rule on a request by prosecutors that Miner be shackled during the trial.

Four people were charged in connection with the gruesome crime, committed upstairs in a house at 1121 N. Hickory St. in Joliet. Two have been convicted.

Alisa Massaro, 20, pleaded guilty to robbery and concealing a homicidal death in exchange for a 10-year-prison sentence. She also agreed to testify against her co-defendants, including 20-year-old Bethany McKee. McKee was convicted of murder last month after a six-day bench trial. Her sentencing is set for Oct. 16, and she faces a mandatory term of life in prison.

Adam Landerman, 21, also is charged with murder. His next hearing is Thursday.

But it was Miner who has been portrayed in court testimony as the driving force behind the killings.

Miner was smoking a cigarette when Joliet police said they found him inside the home on Hickory Street where the killings occurred.

The bodies of Glover and Rankin lay nearby, face-down, on pieces of plastic. Bags were wrapped over their heads and their hands behind their backs, as if they had once been tied up.

Joliet officer Bruce Trevillian told Miner to stand up and show his hands. And that’s when Miner told him he’d “done the guy with the dreadlocks,” Trevillian has testified.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow plans to personally prosecute the case, a spokesman has said.

Prosecutors also filed a motion Friday to have Miner restrained during the trial, court records show.

Testimony in McKee’s trial portrayed Miner as the driving force behind the killings. Prosecutors said all four defendants plotted to rob Rankins after they ran out of money for booze and cigarettes. The fatal robbery netted them $120, prosecutors said.

McKee told police after her arrest that Miner was “crazy,” though, and she said she knew what would happen if she didn’t go along with his plan.

“All three of us would have been dead,” McKee said.

The attack took place in the second-floor apartment of Massaro’s house on Hickory Street where Glover and Rankins were lured under the pretense that they’d be partying with McKee and Massaro.

The two women said they left the room when Miner signaled the attack was about to begin. McKee told police she saw Miner punch Rankins as Rankins cried, “What did I do? Why are you doing this?”

Massaro said she tried to return to the apartment only to find the door locked. On the other side of the door, she said she heard Miner saying, “Die, die.”

Miner and Landerman allegedly strangled the men. But according to courtroom testimony, Massaro joined them in the hours that followed in beating the bodies with a heavy liquor bottle and shouting racial epithets at the victims. All four allegedly plotted to dispose of the corpses, and Landerman brought tools to the house for that purpose. McKee also called her father for help covering up the crime.

McKee told police Miner and Massaro talked about having sex on the victims’ bodies. Massaro acknowledged having done so after her arrest in January 2013, but she denied it in court last month.

Finally, McKee said Miner fantasized about cutting off one victim’s face.

She said he wanted to wear it.

Like a mask.

Contributing: Jon Seidel, Susan DeMar Lafferty and Frank Vaisvilas.