Friends and family of two men strangled to death in a Hickory Street house packed a courtroom for the alleged killers' arraignment this morning. But for the accused, only one man showed up for his child's day in court.
Bill McKee, father of 18-year-old Bethany McKee, was the only one in the gallery for the two young men and two young women charged with the Hickory Street double murder. McKee watched his daughter plead not guilty, endured the insults of a grieving fiancee, and then spoke of his own pain.
"It just sucks that whole families have to go through this," McKee, a Shorewood resident, said. "You can do the best job raising children, but you don't know what's going to come out.
"It's not the parents," said McKee, whose 18-year-old daughter did not stand or speak during her arraignment. Neither did her co-defendants—Alisa Massaro, 18, Joshua Miner, 24, and Adam Landerman, 19. Attorneys for the four entered pleas of not guilty to murdering Joliet men Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22. Massaro, Miner and Landerman are also Joliet residents.
A tip to police about a pair of dead bodies led officers to Massaro's house. The tip ended up on the money, police said, as the officers did find the two corpses, as well as Massaro, Miner and Landerman playing video games near the bodies.
McKee had already left, police said. She headed to Kankakee, where the police there captured her.
Massaro, McKee, Landerman and Miner were transported from the county jail for the hearing before Judge Gerald Kinney. All four were shackled at the wrist and ankle. Landerman, the son of Joliet police Sgt. Julie Larson, has apparently shaved his head since his arrest.
During the arraignment, Kinney said he is keeping the case on his call and set a pretrial hearing for March 1.
The arraignment was the first chance for friends and family of Glover and Rankins to see the accused killers in the flesh since the murders nearly a month ago.
"I was sickened—they look evil. They're demonic," said Heather Gossman, who was engaged to marry Glover. She said Glover proposed to her on Valentine's Day. She wears hear engagement ring and his high school class ring along with a cross around her neck.
"They just showed no emotion," Gossman said. "That Joshua kid looked like he was bored."
Gossman, who said her young daughter, Arianna, considered Glover her father and Rankins an uncle, recalled Glover calling her about 9 p.m. the night before the police found him dead with a bag over his head in Massaro's house.
When she did not hear from him again—and could not get a hold of him—she "called every hospital and jail in the area." She said she learned her fiance was dead by reading Joliet Patch.
"I'm pretty empty," Gossman said. "When he died, my heart died too."
Gossman said McKee invited Rankins to Massaro's house, and Rankins asked Glover to come along. She believes the murders were racially motivated.
"I'm saying yeah because I feel in my heart that my fiance and his friend were going to kick it with the white two," she said.
Gossman said she knew nothing of any of the four accused killers but for McKee, whose mother worked with her in the Walmart on Route 59 near Theodore Street.
Heartbroken by the loss of her fiance, Gossman shouted at Bill McKee after the hearing, saying, "You're a coward, just like your child."
Her outburst was not lost on McKee.
"I understand the anger of the families," he said. "I understand that."