Racist taunts make Joliet double-murder a hate crime, brother of victim says
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter August 6, 2014 1:48PM
Mark Johnson said Wednesday he had to leave the courtroom because he couldn't bear to listen to details of what happened the night his brother was killed. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 8, 2014 10:57AM
To Mark Johnson, one word sums up the four people charged in the death of his older brother, Eric Glover:
“They all are,” Johnson, 22, said Wednesday. “Because you know, it just seems like, I don’t get what human would live with that.”
And after hearing that one of those people allegedly yelled at the bodies, “you should be picking cotton, this wouldn’t have happened,” Johnson said his brother’s murder can be summed up in two words: hate crime.
“It’s a hate crime now,” Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times during a break in the trial of Bethany McKee.
Rankins and Glover were black. The four people charged in connection with their deaths are white. But prosecutors have said the motivation was money — the alleged killers simply wanted cash for alcohol and cigarettes.
McKee, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the strangling deaths of Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22. Adam Landerman, 21, Joshua Miner, 26, and Alisa Massaro, 20, also were charged after the men’s bodies were found on Jan. 10, 2013, in Massaro’s home on Hickory Street in Joliet.
Miner and Landerman have yet to go on trial. Massaro pleaded guilty to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.
McKee’s hours-long interview with police after her arrest revealed many sordid details of the men’s deaths. But Johnson said he had to leave the courtroom when he heard McKee describe how her co-defendants beat the bodies with a liquor bottle and yelled racial epithets.
“It hurt so much,” he said.
Still, Johnson said he wished the trial would get more attention, even though it’s already the subject of daily headlines around Chicago.
“It’s really painful, and it hurts my heart that, you know, how they did things to him . . . in that way,” Johnson said.
He said Glover and Rankins were good people, “and they don’t deserve that.”
Johnson compared their deaths to that of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman, sparking national outrage. Zimmerman was acquitted at trial.
Johnson said he’s studying criminal justice at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, and he decried the daily drumbeat of headlines about violence around Chicago.
“I just want to be the one person who gets to help out and build relationships and stop the violence,” Johnson said. “Because Chicago is too sad, how they’re gang-banging and killing each other over blocks. It’s too crazy.”