Violence, threats marked Joliet murder defendant’s childhood
BY JON SEIDEL AND JANET LUNDQUIST Staff Reporters March 9, 2013 1:32AM
Joshua F. Miner
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:38AM
Joshua Miner’s earliest life was marred with violence and mayhem.
He wasn’t even 3 when his mother filed to divorce his father.
His mother, Melodie Miner, said in court records her husband hunted her and the kids down to a friend’s house and with a gun in his hand, threatened to shoot her if she didn’t come home.
Decades before Joshua Miner would be charged, along with three others, in one of Joliet’s most gruesome double murders, his mother would tell a judge that it was he and his sister who needed protecting from their father.
Frank W. Miner Jr. told her to keep the kids locked up or he’d snatch them away, she claimed in divorce records, which shed new light on the background of Joshua Miner.
Melodie Miner contended her husband told her if he saw anyone talking to her, he would beat them to death.
Even Melodie Miner’s mother wasn’t safe, with Frank Miner allegedly saying he would try to agitate the woman so much, “maybe” she’d have a heart attack.
Melodie Miner said her husband told her he’d never leave her alone.
He’d be watching her.
Neither Melodie nor Frank Miner could be reached by the Sun-Times for comment last week.
Melodie Miner, though, in an interview in January, defended her son against the accusations against him.
“There’s no way my son can do this,” she said.
Joshua Miner was charged with Adam Landerman, Alisa Massaro and Bethany McKee with the murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins. Miner was allegedly a key player in the crimes.
The bodies of the two men were found Jan. 10 inside Massaro’s home at 1121 N. Hickory Street, a two-story frame house on the Near West side of Joliet, now known by kids in the neighborhood as the “murder house,” according to one nearby resident.
Neighbors recall Miner walking down the street staring at them “like we had done something wrong.”
“Miner — you cannot forget,” said Colleen Walsh, a caregiver for an elderly resident down the street.
Authorities say the four robbed and strangled Glover and Rankins, and then Landerman and Massaro continued to party and play video games with Miner.
A source also confirmed that police reports, which contain conflicting interviews with the suspects, allege Miner and Massaro had sex on the victims’ bodies.
They had a plan to dismember the bodies before disposing of them, according to the reports, and they talked about keeping the teeth as trophies.
All four suspects are being held in the Will County Jail in lieu of $10 million bail each.
Joshua Miner and his father both have criminal histories.
Frank Miner was arrested twice in 1991 for allegedly violating an order of protection, Will County records show. He was also initially charged with criminal sexual abuse later that year, and court records show he eventually pleaded guilty to another charge, unlawful restraint, early in 1992.
During their bitter divorce, Melodie Miner fought to keep her ex-husband away from the kids.
Frank Miner battled back to see his children, complaining Melodie Miner used an order of protection to keep him away from Joshua and his sister, Jessica.
Melodie Miner complained to the judge about manipulative comments made by her ex-husband to Joshua and Jessica, and a judge had to order them to only make positive comments about each other in front of the children.
“Both parties shall use their best efforts to foster the love and affection of the children toward both parents,” the judge wrote in his 1993 order.
The young Miner’s first reported arrest came 12 years later, when he was picked up on a shoplifting charge in July 2005 in Joliet.
Then, on Oct. 29, 2005, he was present when police responded to a complaint of underage drinking at a room in Motel 6 in Joliet.
Authorities said officers who entered the room found some beer cans, along with Miner and Ivon D. Gurrola, 27, who once dated Miner but also tried to get an order of protection against him. Also inside was a 25-year-old Joliet man who had rented the room and a 16-year-old Wilmington girl who came out of the bathroom in a towel, police said.
The girl later told police Miner had just videotaped her having sex with Gurrola.
Miner faced a series of arrests, culminating in an arrest for residential burglary in July 2010. He was sentenced to prison, though he ended up in the Department of Corrections’ boot camp program instead.
Neighbors recall seeing Massaro walking around the neighborhood during the day around her Hickory Street home along with her friends, including Miner.
“They destroyed the neighborhood, because nobody feels safe,” Walsh said. “They might have buried those boys, but they’ll never be forgotten. Not only by the families, but by the neighborhood.”
Contributing: Mike Nolan, Becky Schlikerman