Gruesome details, dramatic testimony in Joliet double-murder trial

There was dramatic testimony today in Joliet from the prosecution’s star witness in a grisly 2013 double-murder case.

In a Will County bench trial, 20-year-old Alissa Massaro testified it was her long-time friend, Bethany McKee, who came up with the idea of calling Terrance Rankin, after Massaro and three  Joliet friends allegedly settled on robbery as a way to score quick cash.  On the stand, Massaro said she heard McKee remark that Rankin always carried cash.

And the group allegedly discussed the scheme in detail, according to Massaro, who demonstrated the agreed-to signal for the girls to leave the room, just moments before the attack –  the signal – a slashing motion across the throat

The testimony could be damaging to Bethany McKee, the first of three co-defendants to go on trial for double murder – the group accused of luring 22-year-olds, Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover to Massaro’s Joliet home, where the two were robbed & murdered in a bedroom in 2013.  But Bethany McKee’s father, talking to reporters, said Massaro’s version of events story doesn’t add up.

“As you heard with Alissa’s testimony on the stand today,” Bill McKee said, “she doesn’t recall 98 percent of anything that’s questioned to her.”

In cross examination, Massaro admitted lying to police initially.  But after several months in jail on the murder charges, she testified that she found God in prison and the urge to tell the truth about the crime.

But defense attorney, Chuck Bretz, wasn’t buying it, focusing on Massaro’s plea agreement.

“You’re a reformed liar?  Is that what we’re supposed to believe?”

Question: “What was your part of the deal?”  Bretz asked Massaro?

Answer: “To tell the truth,” she responded.

Question:  “Did prosecutors tell you what to say?”

Answer:  “No.  They told me to tell the truth.”

But the truth is difficult to face in this gruesome double murder.

Duval Rankins is one of the victim’s father.

“We want to know what happened in that house.  But the details are … it’s hard to take sometimes.  It’s hard to take.”

The trial resumes Monday.

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