JOLIET – The horror of the Hickory Street slayings seems a tale more suitable for an exploitation movie than a courtroom.
The killings of two young men were recounted last week by witnesses who offered testimony and evidence of lurid and shocking behavior by the four people accused of their murders.
“This is one of the most brutal, heinous and upsetting things I’ve ever seen in my 27 years of law enforcement. Not only the crime scene but the disregard for common decency toward human beings,” then-Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton told The Herald-News in January 2013 after the bodies of Eric Glover and Terrence Rankins were found in Alisa Massaro's house in the 1100 block of North Hickory Street.
Trafton never elaborated. But the accounts given in the courtroom last week offered a disturbing view of human behavior suggested in the police chief's reaction to what happened at the house on Hickory Street.
Massaro, 20, pleaded guilty in May to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for having murder charges dropped and testifying against Adam Landerman, 21, Bethany McKee, 20, and Joshua Miner, 26. All four were charged with murdering Glover and Rankins, both 22.
Massaro testified last week at McKee's trial before Judge Gerald Kinney, who had placed a gag order on trial participants during pretrial activity to "limit the sensationalism" around the case. Miner and Landerman await separate trials.
While prosecutors say the two men physically strangled the victims, McKee is being held accountable for participating in the robbery that led to their deaths.
McKee and Rankins met while attending Joliet West High School and reconnected on Facebook shortly before the Jan. 9, 2013 slayings. During her interview with police, McKee said Rankins offered to supply her with marijuana, and Massaro testified McKee introduced him as her dealer.
Massaro testified she had previously had sex with Landerman and been in an on-off relationship with Miner. But Massaro denied any of them had sex on top of the bodies after Rankins and Glover were slain – a rumor reported in media accounts soon after the crime and which McKee had suggested in her interview with police.
McKee told police Miner proposed Massaro have sex with both him and Landerman on a mattress he'd put over the victims. Massaro also planned to snort some of the cocaine off Miner's genitals, according to McKee. The quartet had gone out to buy drugs using money from Rankins and Glover's pockets after killing them and returned to "party" with the corpses in the apartment, McKee and Massaro said.
McKee told police she did not know if Massaro and Landerman had sex, but said Massaro told her the next morning that Miner choked her while attempting to have sex, but could not perform.
"This is really twisted," McKee said after relating that to detectives during a videotaped interview that was played during the trial.
McKee also told police she reluctantly kicked one of the bodies at Miner's insistence to show solidarity among the suspects. Massaro testified she punched and kicked them as well.
When Miner and Landerman went to desecrate the bodies, Miner used a derogatory racial slur to address the victims, according to McKee.
"Adam said if they [stayed busy] picking cotton this wouldn't have happened," McKee told police during her interview. Both victims were black, while all the suspects are white.
McKee claimed Miner was not opposed to touching the victims and told the others once the bodies were dismembered he was going to cut the face and hair from Glover's head to wear like a mask for a cellphone picture.
The suspects had reportedly discussed the then-recently released horror film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D" where the villain wears a mask of human skin. McKee told detectives she didn't know whether Miner was joking about the souvenir because "he's crazy."
Landerman is believed to have retrieved a hand-held propane torch, a pair of small garden shears, a utility knife, two hand knives, a pair of scissors, a hacksaw and a second blade that police found near Rankins' body that would be used to dismember the remains.
William McKee notified police about the killings after the suspects allegedly agreed Bethany should ask her father how to dispose of them.
Bethany McKee's trial is scheduled to continue Monday.