An Ottawa teenager accused in the deaths of Blaine Romes and Blake Aaron Romes will return to Putnam County Juvenile Court next month for a hearing to decide whether he will stand trial as an adult.
Michael Aaron Fay, 17, entered not guilty pleas on Tuesday to delinquency in connection with aggravated murder — the juvenile version of felony aggravated murder in adult court.
The delinquency offenses alleged that the Fay youth killed Blaine, 14, and his brother, Blake, 17, in their trailer on North Perry Street on May 9.
Judge Michael Borer ordered the teen held in the Wood County Juvenile Center, pending the outcome of a hearing on June 18 to have him certified as an adult and bound over to Putnam County Common Pleas Court.
If probable cause is established at the hearing, state law mandates that a 16 or 17-year-old be certified to an adult court if he is charged with murder or aggravated murder.
Deputies took the teen into court with his head hidden under what appeared to be a black nylon ski mask. It was removed when he sat down for the hearing, which was open only to the family of the suspect and the victims and the media.
Before the proceeding, Judge Borer said that only video and photographs of the teenager's back would be permitted, but not images of his face.
Wearing a red shirt and sweat pants, the Fay youth said little during the hearing, giving only yes and no answers in response to the judge's questions if he understood the reason for the hearing, his constitutional rights, and the charges brought against him by prosecutors.
Attorney William Kluge was appointed by Judge Borer to represent the teen on the charges. The Lima attorney had been asked by the judge to represent the Fay youth on a delinquency grand theft charge related to the murders.
The teen's mother, Victoria Fay, who is the partner of the victims' mother, Michelle Grothause, was seated in the courtroom with her son, Kyle Nichols.
The Romeses' mother, Ms. Grothause, 35, was in the courtroom, but sat separately from Ms. Fay. As she walked into the courtroom, she stopped and hugged Mr. Nichols, 19, and later winked at him as she left.
After the hearing, Todd Schroeder, the assistant county prosecutor who is handling the case, said autopsies showed that both victims were shot once in the head, and Blake, the older teen, had "contributing" injuries of strangulation and blunt force trauma.
He said that if Judge Borer determines probable cause exists that the crimes occurred and were committed by the Fay youth, the case will be transferred to Common Pleas Court and presented to a grand jury for possible indictment.
He refused to elaborate on a motive for the crimes.
"There will be multiple proceedings in this case. During the proceedings the facts will come out. I don't want to taint those proceedings," he said.
Blaine, an eighth grader at Ottawa Elementary, and Blake, a junior at Ottawa-Glandorf High School, and the Fay youth were reported missing by Ms. Grothause early May 9. She left work to check on them after failing to reach her younger son by phone. She found the trailer empty, a vehicle missing, a large amount of blood, and a 22-caliber handgun in the home.
An Amber Alert was issued about five hours later for the Romes boys and the Fay youth, who was located in a gas station in Columbus. He gave statements that led investigators to the bodies.
By Mark Reiter - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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