Judge seals court files after police reports leaked in Joliet double murder
BY JANET LUNDQUIST AND CINDY WOJDYLA CAIN Sun-Times Media March 1, 2013 8:13PM
Adam M. Landerman (clockwise, from top left), Alisa R. Massaro, Joshua F. Miner and Bethany L. McKee | Supplied photos
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:18AM
Will County Judge Gerald Kinney sealed the court files Friday and ordered law enforcement and attorneys not to talk to the media about a Joliet double murder after police reports were leaked to the press.
Kinney also told defense attorneys to investigate whether police reports were leaked by anyone in their offices.
“It’s problematic, and it’s something that, I think, needs to be looked into,” Kinney said. “Each of you should determine whether or not this was done by a member of your staff.”
New details emerged this week in the Jan. 10 strangulation murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22, including information Joliet Patch first reported based on police reports that two of the four people charged in the killings — Joshua Miner, 24, and his girlfriend, Alisa Massaro, 18 — had sex on top of the victims’ bodies.
Adam Landerman , 19, the son of a female Joliet Police sergeant, and 18-year-old Bethany McKee also are charged in the killings that shook Joliet.
All four were charged with first-degree murder and remained in custody on $10 million bond. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is prosecuting the case.
Eight defense attorneys stood up for the four defendants in court Friday, and they all joined in a motion by attorney Chuck Bretz, who represents McKee, seeking the sealing of the court files and prohibiting law enforcement and attorneys from talking to the press about the case.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor said prosecutors would not object to the order.
Kinney issued the order, which will last at least through March 11, the next court date for the four accused.
Kinney said defense attorneys should go through their staffs’ email, cellphones and computers to find out if it was leaked from one of their offices.
“Everyone knows the rules,” Kinney said. “I’m not saying I know who did it, but discovery has been tendered to the media.”
It all began with an alleged invitation to Rankins by McKee to have sex with her and Massaro at Massaro’s house — and to bring marijuana and booze with him. Rankins invited Glover to tag along.
Instead, the two soon-to-be murder victims wound up playing video games, and according to one police report, a struggle ensued when Miner struck Rankins for “fooling around” with McKee, who had asked him to stop. One police report alleges the two women left before the violence began and were afraid of the bodies when they returned.
The men were murdered in the Massaro home while her father, Phillip, was asleep on the couch a floor below the murder scene.
McKee told police that when Massaro’s dad awoke he issued orders to quit the racket — which he was told was caused by a broken TV — or he’d call the police. He did not.
After the men were killed, the assailants reportedly concocted a plan to get rid of the bodies and considered torching the victims’ car with the bodies inside. Instead, they left the bodies inside the house, dumped the car in a parking lot and headed to Walgreens for a soda and something to eat before going back to the house.
McKee called her father, William, and he called the Shorewood police. Shorewood police then contacted Joliet officers. When Joliet police arrived at the grisly scene, Miner, Massaro and Landerman were there, and all three were arrested.
McKee, who has a baby daughter, had already left the murder scene and was picked up by police in Kankakee en route to visit the child’s father.
Defense Attorney Edward Jaquays questioned whether the accused could get a fair trial now that the police reports have been made public.
Authorities have kept a tight lip on details surrounding the case, saying they didn’t want to jeopardize it.
Joliet Chief Mike Trafton said Thursday the release of the police reports was not authorized.
Bretz said disclosure of police reports by an attorney would violate Illinois Supreme Court rules. Bretz is concerned that the news stories included alleged statements that might not be admissible in court.
He told Kinney that no one in his office had leaked the police reports, and he speculated they were leaked by someone in the Joliet Police Department.
Bretz also subpoenaed all the police reports and other documents from Patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey, who wrote the story based on the reports.
Patch.com spokesman Joe Wiggins said the company does not comment on matters under litigation.
The victims’ family members, who say authorities had not told them much about what happened, were shocked to hear the details.
Rodrick Kent, one of Rankins’ relatives, said his family members met with members of the state’s attorney’s office this week and were told no information would be released until the trial. Authorities did not verify the report or offer any information on what happened to Rankins and Glover, he said.
“I wish the press would just back off,” Rankins’ mother, Jamille Kent, said outside the courtroom. “Let us grieve. Be respectful for us, I lost my child. “Just leave us alone.”
Glover’s fiancee, Heather Gossman, said she and Glover’s other family members were told the same thing as Rankins’ family.
McKee’s father said he had not been told of such details and questioned how someone else could get the information. He wondered whether his daughter would be able to get a fair trial.
Still, McKee said he did not want to take attention away from the grief of the victims’ families.
“What’s happening with this story can’t be easy for the victims’ families,” McKee said.