- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - The latest defendant to stand trial in a grisly double-murder “lost it” when one of the victims fought back and kicked him in the head, Will County prosecutors contended Tuesday.

Joshua Miner, 26 of Joliet, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 strangulations of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins, both 22. Prosecutors claim Miner conspired with three friends to rob Rankins and Glover.

During opening statements in a bench trial before Will County Judge Gerald Kinney, Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor said Miner became enraged while attacking Rankins because Glover kicked Miner in the head.

Connor said Glover was overcome by Adam Landerman, 21, who also is charged with murder.

Miner has been portrayed during previous hearings as the ringleader in the plot. Defense attorney Michael Renzi told the judge prosecutors won’t be able to prove that Miner led the attack.

Miner is accused of helping to lure the men to the home of another suspect, where they were strangled, their bodies left with bags over their heads and hands tied behind their back.

Miner and two other suspects were playing video games, the bodies nearby, when they were arrested, authorities said at the time. The fourth suspect was arrested in Kankakee.

The first person to stand trial, 20-year-old Bethany McKee, was convicted and faces a mandatory life sentence when sentenced.

Landerman is awaiting trial, and the fourth person, Alissa Massaro, 20, pleaded guilty to robbery and concealing a homicidal death in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence. She is a prosecution witness.

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