JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — Four people arrested for a grisly double homicide in Joliet this year all pleaded not guilty to a fresh criminal indictment Tuesday — but no one will say what’s in it, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
A judge’s standing orders sealing the case file and gagging the attorneys left more questions than answers after the latest hearing in Will County for the group already charged with the murders of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins.
The new indictment could contain fresh criminal charges or minor legal editing to the ones they already face. Either way, a Chicago Sun-Times attorney told Judge Gerald Kinney that sealing the new indictment takes the secrecy surrounding the brutal murder case to a new level.
One legal expert later described the situation as “exceptional.”
“In my experience, it’s rare, extremely rare, for an indictment to be sealed,” said Jeff Urdangen, director of the Center for Criminal Defense at the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University Law School.
Even at the federal level, Urdangen said, indictments are typically only sealed when a defendant has not been arrested or national security is at stake.
“But certainly the indictment does not remain forever sealed,” Urdangen said, “and I don’t expect it will be in this case.”
In fact, Kinney is expected to rule later this month on whether to let stand his own orders, which also gag some police departments and other agencies involved in the case. He heard arguments Tuesday from Seth Stern, an attorney for Sun-Times Media, and Joel Murphy, a defense attorney for Bethany McKee.
McKee, Joshua Miner, Adam Landerman and Alisa Massaro were charged nearly four months ago with murdering Glover and Rankins. The victim’s bodies were discovered Jan. 10 in Massaro’s home in the 1100 block of North Hickory Street in Joliet after the men were strangled.
Leaked police reports contain conflicting interviews with suspects alleging that Miner and Massaro had sex on the men’s bodies, a source has confirmed. The disclosure of that and other outrageous details about the crime led to Kinney’s orders.
The defendants were arraigned on the new indictment at the end of Tuesday’s hearing, and lawyers for all four waived formal readings of the new charges.
Earlier, Stern argued that the leaked police reports, which didn’t come from the case file, already have been exposed. He said any order sealing the file should be narrow. Murphy, meanwhile, said his client’s right to a fair trial should prevail over all else.
“No right ranks higher than the right of the accused to a fair trial,” Murphy said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)