OTTAWA – The Illinois Appellate Court has upheld the life sentence for a woman found guilty of murder in the 2013 Hickory Street slayings.
Three appellate justices agreed in an opinion filed May 9 that the sentence Judge Gerald Kinney was required under state law to impose on Bethany McKee, 22, was not unconstitutional.
On Jan. 9, 2013, McKee and Alisa Massaro lured Eric Glover Jr. and Terrance Rankins to Massaro’s house in the 1100 block of North Hickory Street in Joliet, where Joshua Miner strangled Rankins and Adam Landerman strangled Glover. Although McKee did not physically harm the victims, she was convicted of murder for her “accountability” for the crime.
Miner and Landerman also are serving life sentences. Massaro agreed to testify against the others and pleaded guilty to lesser charges, carrying a 10-year prison sentence.
“McKee actively participated in the planning of the crimes; she was not just complicit, she was an instigator,” Justice Mary McDade wrote. “While it is true that she did not personally participate in the murder, it must be noted that she was aware that murder was at least a possibility and an intended consequence of their plan.”
“After the robbery and murders were committed, McKee took part in the distribution of the proceeds and the discussion of options for dismembering and disposing of the bodies,” McDade wrote.
McKee’s appeal argued the life sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment and noted some challenges to mandated life for teenage accomplices.
“While McKee was only 18 at the time of the murders, she was nonetheless an adult,” McDade wrote. “[She] did not join in the crime at the last minute or play only a peripheral role. ... She made the initial suggestion to rob Rankins.”