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Prosecution Rests In Joliet Double-Murder Trial

Bethany McKee (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

Bethany McKee (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Once she realized her friends might be talking to police, Alisa Massaro was ready to talk, too.

Massaro, who sat defensively across the table from two Joliet police officers in January 2013, promised to “say what I know.” Moments earlier, one of the cops had taken her out of the interview room to prove that Joshua Miner and Adam Landerman were answering questions.

When she sat back down, she spun a yarn about two men who came over to her Hickory Street home the night before — and wound up dead.

“They were trying to do things to us we didn’t want to do,” Massaro, 20, said in her videotaped statement. “They were being forceful.”

Adam Landerman (clockwise from top left), Alisa Massaro, Joshua Miner, and Bethany McKee (Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office)

Adam Landerman (clockwise from top left), Alisa Massaro, Joshua Miner, and Bethany McKee (Credit: Will County Sheriff’s Office)

But last week Massaro testified that her claim — and many of her other comments to police that day — was complete fiction. Since then she has become the star witness against Bethany McKee, 20, who is on trial for the murders of two 22-year-olds, Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover. Their bodies were found Jan. 10, 2013, in Massaro’s home at 1121 N. Hickory St. in Joliet. Closing statements in McKee’s trial could begin as early as Tuesday.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday, and McKee’s defense team began to play a recording of Massaro’s lies for Will County Judge Gerald Kinney. They did so in an attempt to discredit the testimony Massaro gave Thursday — when she claimed McKee agreed to go along with a robbery of the two men, first brought up Rankins’ name, and made the phone call to lure the men to the house.

Friends Eric Glover, 22, and Terrance O. Rankins, 22, were killed in Joliet Thursday by four acquaintances, police say. (Family handouts)

Friends Eric Glover, 22, and Terrance O. Rankins, 22, were killed in Joliet Thursday by four acquaintances, police say. (Family handouts)

Miner and Landerman, who allegedly strangled the men, also were charged and are awaiting trial. But Massaro pleaded guilty in May to robbery and concealing a homicide in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence. She’ll be eligible for release in less than four years.

She testified Thursday that she would have told the truth in court without that plea deal.

“I realized how important the truth is,” Massaro said. “It sets you free.”

But on the day the bodies of Rankins and Glover were discovered, Massaro told police she didn’t want to talk and asked for a lawyer. After they convinced her that Miner and Landerman were answering questions — McKee was arrested separately in Kankakee — Massaro claimed the trouble at her house began when Rankins and Glover began aggressively touching her and McKee.

Later, after police accused her of lying, she accused them of being rude, and she said, “I don’t have much of a memory.” She also said that, among the four suspects, she wasn’t the one who needed legal protection.

“The only person that needs protection right now is Bethany,” Massaro said. She later explained that’s because McKee had a 15-month-old child.

“That’s her everything,” Massaro said.

Eventually, when police began confronting her with details about the robbery and the crime scene, Massaro began to open up.

“We all talked about cutting them up,” Massaro said of Rankins’ and Glover’s bodies. “We all talked about dumping them somewhere.”

Forensic pathologist Valerie Arangelovich also testified Monday before prosecutors rested their case. She said Rankins and Glover were strangled, meaning someone had to choke them constantly for several minutes.

Though a person can lose consciousness after being choked for just 10 to 30 seconds, Arangelovich testified, permanent brain damage and death take longer — about three-and-a-half to six minutes.

She testified: “There would have to be constant pressure” that whole time.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)