Judge: Double Murder Suspect’s Statements Can Be Used At Trial
JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — A Will County judge on Thursday ruled that statements a man accused in the grisly murders of two Joliet men allegedly made to police without an attorney present may be used against him.
Joshua Miner, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the January 2013 stranglings of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22, who were lured to a house, killed and robbed of money and drugs, according to prosecutors.
Miner’s attorney, Lea Norbut, argued in court Thursday that his alleged statements to police about the murders should be suppressed because has was not provided an attorney after inquiring about having one.
“When a suspect invoked that right (to an attorney) at any time, the police must immediately cease questioning,” Norbut said.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor argued that Miner waived his right to an attorney and willingly spoke to police.
He quoted as Miner as saying, “Is there any way I can get, like, a PD (public defender) or something?”
Connor said Joliet police Detective Pat Schumacher said he didn’t know if he could get a lawyer “right now,” but informed Miner of his right to a lawyer and asked if he still wanted to talk with police with that right in mind — to which Miner responded, “Yeah.”
In court records, Connor wrote that Miner “indicated a concern with his statements being misinterpreted” and that Miner “expressed concern about being perceived as a racist.”
Miner and three others charged in the slayings are white and the victims were black.
At a previous hearing, Schumacher testified that Miner was placed in handcuffs and made two statements voluntarily before being taken to the police station by Schumacher and another Joliet officer. During the ride to the station, Miner expressed concern about being in a police interrogation room, Schumacher said.
The recording of the questioning shows Miner eating and speaking with Joliet detectives and also sleeping during about 24 hours. All of the questioning happened in an 81/2-hour period, with the bulk of the questions asked in three hours, the recording indicates.
Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney on Thursday said he reviewed the more than 24-hour long recording of Miner’s questioning by police.
He called Miner’s question of “can I get a PD or something” equivocal before denying the motion to suppress his statements.
Prosecutors last month dropped a first-degree murder charge against Alisa Massaro, 20, in exchange for her pleading guilty to lesser charges of robbery and concealing a homicide, receiving a 10-year prison term and agreeing to testify against the three other defendants. Adam Landerman, 20, and Bethany McKee, 19, are also charged with murder stemming from the killings.
Glover and Rankins were killed at Massaro’s father’s house, 1121 Hickory St., but prosecutors said that, while Massaro was in the house, she did not take part in killing them.
A trial for McKee is set to begin July 21 before Kinney. It was originally scheduled for July 14, but Kinney said he won’t be in court that day.
Also on July 21, attorneys will likely learn the results of Miner’s sanity evaluation. He previously passed an evaluation to determine his fitness to stand trial, but Miner’s attorney Michael Renzi said that was only to determine his ability to cooperate with attorneys.
Miner’s attorneys said in a motion for his sanity evaluation, which Kinney approved, that, “there may exist a bona fide doubt as to the defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)