4 plead not guilty in Joliet strangling deaths
The four young people charged in last month’s strangling of two Joliet men all pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning before a Will County judge.
Joliet residents Adam Landerman, 19; Alisa Massaro, 18, and Joshua Miner, 24, and Bethany McKee, 18, of Shorewood were charged with the robbery and murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22, during a Jan. 10 party at Massaro’s house in Joliet.
Their next court date is March 1.
Rankins’ mother, Jamille Kent, sat on a bench and sobbed.
Kizzy Dyson, who said she was close friends with Glover and Rankins, said it was hard to see the four suspects in person. She said she felt “a little anger, hurt. I want to know why. I don’t understand.”
Joliet Police were alerted to trouble at Massaro’s house by the Shorewood Police Department.
Before 4 p.m. on Jan. 10, McKee’s father, William McKee, had phoned police in Shorewood, according to sources. His daughter had called and told him what had happened at the house, sources said.
Joliet police arrived to find a scene that Chief Mike Trafton later called, “one of the most brutal, heinous and upsetting” he has witnessed.
When they walked into the house, police have said, they surprised Landerman, Massaro and Miner, who were playing video games. McKee had left the house, and police stopped her about 90 minutes later. According to authorities, the suspects had planned to dismember the bodies to conceal the crime.
Heather Gossman, 23, of Joliet, should have been making final plans for her Valentine’s Day wedding this month to Glover, her fiance. Instead, on Tuesday morning, she stood in a hallway at the Will County Courthouse with tears streaming down her face.
She said she had to be in the courtroom.
“I wanted them to see my face,” she said of the accused. “They took away my, my . . . everything. I wanted them to see what they did to me.”
Glover proposed to Gossman a year ago on Valentine’s Day. He got down on one knee and gave her a sapphire engagement ring. Gossman wore that ring on a chain around her neck during Tuesday’s hearing.
“It’s horrible, it’s like a nightmare that won’t go away,” she said after the hearing. “Every day I wake up and my bed is empty.”
They had dated for three years.
She met Glover when she attended some of his semi-pro football games. “We just got to talking. He was funny, a real down-to-earth guy. He genuinely cared,” she said.
The night Glover didn’t come home, she kept calling his phone. When she saw a news article online about police finding two men dead in a Joliet home, she knew the worst had happened.
Gossman said Glover didn’t know the accused.
“He was just helping a friend out at the time,” she said. “Wrong place, wrong time.”