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20-year-old woman guilty in Joliet double murder

Published: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 11:32 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 11:45 p.m. CDT
This undated file photo provided by the Will County Sheriff's Office in Joliet, shows Bethany McKee, of Shorewood. On Friday McKee was found guilty of taking part in a double murder in Joliet in January 2013. She faces a mandatory life sentence. McKee was one of four young adults charged in the case. (AP file photo)

JOLIET – A 20-year-old woman faces a mandatory life sentence after a judge found her guilty Friday of taking part in a grisly double murder in Joliet last year. The motive, prosecutors said, was robbery to get cash for alcohol and cigarettes.

Will County Judge Gerald Kinney, who issued the verdict because Bethany McKee had waived her right to a jury trial, said the crime demonstrated a “stunning lack of respect for human life.” McKee will be sentenced Oct. 16.

The victims, Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover, were found strangled in a home with plastic bags over their heads in January 2013. Investigators said both 22-year-olds had been beaten with liquor bottles.

Three other suspects were arrested in the case. Joshua Miner, 26, and Adam Landerman, 21, are awaiting trial, while Alissa Massaro pleaded guilty to robbery and concealment of a homicidal death in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.

Massaro testified during the six-day trial that McKee suggested Rankins as a target because he was thought to carry large amounts of cash. Massaro said McKee made the phone call inviting Rankins and Glover to the house where they were killed for what turned out to be $120.

In a recorded police interview that was played in court, McKee said she wasn’t in the room when the men were killed and later left the house to drop off her 15-month-old daughter with a friend.

In final arguments earlier this month, McKee’s attorney, Charles Bretz, argued that his client may have been guilty of other things, but there was no evidence linking her to the murders.

Prosecutors said it didn’t matter whether McKee was in the room or not.

“When she’s in for a penny, she’s in for a pound,” Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Walsh said. “And when she’s in for the robbery, she’s in for the homicide, too, and that makes her guilty.”

During the trial, prosecutors played a tape of a 911 call that McKee’s father made to police after he talked to his daughter. In the tape, the father could be heard saying that he had asked his daughter if she was involved in the deaths of the two men “and she said yes.”

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