Will County to pay up to $5,000 for defense expert in double murder case
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org April 10, 2013 12:50PM
Adam M. Landerman (clockwise, from top left), Alisa R. Massaro, Joshua F. Miner and Bethany L. McKee
Updated: May 12, 2013 2:00PM
Will County could pay up to $5,000 for a defendant in a brutal double homicide on Hickory Street in Joliet to have an independent expert witness supervise DNA testing in the case, a judge ruled Wednesday.
However, Judge Gerald Kinney put off until next month arguments involving a lawyer for the Chicago Sun-Times about whether orders should stand that gag lawyers and seal the case file regarding defendants Joshua Miner, Adam Landerman, Bethany McKee and Alisa Massaro.
The four are charged with the first-degree murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, whose bodies were discovered Jan. 10 in Massaro’s home at 1121 N. Hickory Street after they were strangled to death.
Police reports that contain conflicting interviews with the suspects allege Miner and Massaro had sex on the men’s bodies, a source has confirmed. The suspects also allegedly had a plan to dismember the bodies before disposing of them, according to the reports.
Kinney sealed the case file and gagged the lawyers after those police reports were leaked to local media. McKee’s defense team has also subpoenaed the reporter who first wrote about the reports, and arguments over whether to quash the subpoena were put off until next month, as well.
Neil Patel, one of McKee’s lawyers, asked Kinney to let an independent expert watch testing expected to result in the destruction of DNA evidence. He also sought taxpayer money for that expert.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech objected to the use of public money. She cited an estimate from the expert of between $5,000 and $6,000. But she said there’s no way to know whether costs will go beyond that.
She also said McKee should be able to bear that cost because she could afford to hire a private lawyer.
“Is she really indigent?” Czech said.
Patel quibbled with that argument. He argued the testing could benefit the other suspects, and that it would be cheaper for taxpayers to pay an expert rather than for a successful appeal or a re-trial down the road.
He also refused to acknowledge whether McKee is paying the firm to represent her. He said she is 19, a mother, and in custody at the Will County jail.
“She is indigent, judge,” Patel said.
Kinney ultimately agreed to let the expert watch the testing, but he capped the county’s spending at $5,000. He also told the lawyers not to begin the testing until a schedule can be coordinated.
Arguments about whether the case file should be unsealed, or whether a gag order should be lifted, were delayed when another of McKee’s lawyers, Joel Murphy, asked the judge for more time to prepare. Kinney agreed to let Murphy do more research.
“It is such a serious case,” Kinney said