The horrifying and twisted details of the January 2013 strangling deaths of two men on Hickory Street in Joliet finally spilled into a Will County courtroom Tuesday as a judge watched an hours-long recorded police interview of Bethany McKee.
Seated across from two investigators in the Kankakee police station, McKee, 20, initially said she thought any talk of killing the two men was a joke. She didn’t even believe they were dead when she first saw the victims, 22-year-olds Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover, stacked on top of each other, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Eventually she pinned the murders at 1121 N. Hickory St. — which took place with her 15-month-old daughter in the house and a friend’s father asleep downstairs — squarely on Joshua Miner, 26. Breaking down near the end of her interview with two Joliet police officers, she said the whole thing was his idea.
After telling tales of sex on corpses, liquor-bottle beatings, racial epithets and sick fantasies of wearing a victim’s face as a mask, McKee told the cops Miner is “crazy.” She said she knew what would happen if she hadn’t played along.
“All three of us would have been dead,” McKee said through tears.
But McKee, who is on trial for first-degree murder, admitted she used a portion of the $120 stolen from Rankins to buy gas and cigarettes. And she said she left the crime scene and returned without calling police. She said she only called her father only because she wanted help disposing of the bodies. He called police instead, and McKee was arrested in Kankakee.
McKee initially said the men were attacked because they were hitting on her and Alisa Massaro, 20, who lived at the house on Hickory Street. Prosecutors say the group was motivated by the need for money, though. She told police her father lied to her, and she said he shared in the blame.
“It was his fault in the first place,” McKee said near the end of her interview. “He’s the one who kept kicking me out.”
Also charged in the case are Adam Landerman, 21, and Massaro. Landerman and Miner have yet to go on trial, but Massaro took a plea deal and could testify as soon as Wednesday against McKee. Massaro got 10 years in prison for robbery and concealment of a homicidal death.
McKee said she took her daughter downstairs and sat on the floor of a small room after Miner and Landerman began to attack the two men upstairs. She soon left the house, dropped her daughter off with a friend, bought gas and cigarettes and returned to the home to find Glover’s body stacked on top of Rankins’ on the second floor.
Child-welfare officials have said they were not contacted at the time, even though McKee made it clear that her infant daughter was in the house during the murders.
McKee told police she later kicked one of the bodies once at Miner’s urging. And she said she heard the others beating one of the bodies on the head with a heavy liquor bottle while yelling racial epithets. She said she heard Landerman yell “you should be picking cotton, this wouldn’t have happened!”
She said all four of them left, bought cocaine and came back to the house to party. McKee said she eventually passed out and woke up to find Rankins’ and Glover’s bodies covered and lying beside each other. She said Miner and Massaro had talked about having sex on the bodies, but Miner didn’t have it in him.
Miner’s alleged fantasies didn’t end there, though. She said Miner talked about cutting Glover’s face off and wearing it as a mask. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” character Leatherface came up.
Eventually, she said Landerman brought tools over to the house to help dispose of the bodies.
Will County Judge Gerald Kinney saw some of those tools Tuesday. They were collected and shown to him by a Joliet police evidence technician.
They had a propane torch. Shears, knives and scissors. And a hacksaw.