4 Arrested in Strangulation Murders; Crime Scene 'Heinous,' Chief Says
The four suspects continued to "party" after the two murders were committed, and it's believed the intent was to dismember the victims, Chief Mike Trafton said.
JOLIET, IL -- Robbery was the motive in the deaths of two men, strangled by four friends who lured them to a home Thursday, killed them and then partied and played videogames after, local police chief Mike Trafton said.
There is evidence the suspects intended to dismember their victims, Trafton said. He described the 1121 N. Hickory St. crime scene as gruesome, particularly in light of the suspects' total "disregard for human beings."
"I think you need to know this is one of the most brutal, heinous, really upsetting things that (I've seen) in 27 years of law enforcement," he said. "It is the worst thing I've come across in my career.
"After the homicides were committed, they continued the party atmosphere, I guess I would say, without getting into it any further."
The victims have been identified as Eric Glover and Terrance O. Rankins, both 22.
Charged with six counts of first-degree murder each are Adam M. Landerman, 19, 1053 Glenwood, Joliet; Bethany L. McKee, 18, 200 West Shore, Shorewood; Joshua F. Miner, 24, 601 W. Jefferson, Joliet; and Alisa R. Massaro, 18, 1121 N. Hickory St., which is where the murders took place.
Landerman is the son of Joliet Police Sgt. Julie Landerman, Trafton said.
Based on the evidence, bond was set Friday afternoon at $10 million each by Will County Judge Daniel Rozak. They are being held in the Will County jail.
Police learned about the homicides at about 4 p.m. Thursday, when they received a tip that they would find two dead bodies at the Hickory Street address. When officers arrived, they found the victims and then heard noise indicating there were other people in the house, Cmdr. Brian Benton said.
"I would say they were very much surprised (by the arrival of the police)," he said.
Landerman, Massaro and Miner were arrested there; McKee was arrested at a home in Kankakee, Trafton said.
Benton called the suspects and victims "social friends," and said the plan was to lure the two men to the house in order to rob them of cash. The victims were killed by physical strangulation; no rope or cord was used, Trafton said.
The police chief declined to discuss whether drugs or alcohol played a role in murders, and that he didn't consider it a mitigating factor even if it did.
"I refuse to use any of that as an excuse whatsoever," Trafton said. "They did what they did and they're to blame. As far as I'm concerned, they're going to jail today and they should stay there forever."
Will County prosecutors worked with police at the crime scene and later helped secure a search warrant for the house, State's Attorney James Glasgow said.
"This is a highly unusual case and were not going to be talking about any details right now, but they're quite disturbing," said Glasgow, who filed charges against the four suspects Friday afternoon.
Trafton said he revealed Officer Landerman's relationship to the suspect to ensure there would be no allegations later that the information was deliberately not disclosed or that Adam Landerman received special consideration because of his mother.
"She was spoken to me by myself," Trafton said. "She has no access to the case whatsoever, and she was afforded no luxury whatsoever."
Miner is the only suspect to have a criminal background, Trafton said.
According to jail logs, which are incomplete, he was arrested in August 2010 for residential burglary and previously in April 2008 for knowingly damaging property. When he was arrested in second case, he also had two outstanding warrants for failure to appear at other criminal proceedings, the log shows.