Putnam County teen enters not guilty pleas in 2 slayings

Michael Aaron Fay, 17, walks into the courtroom  for his arraignment as an adult.
Michael Aaron Fay, 17, walks into the courtroom for his arraignment as an adult.

OTTAWA, Ohio — A Putnam County teenager accused of killing two brothers, hiding their bodies, and then taking off to Columbus in their mother’s car made his first appearance in court on Thursday as an adult.

Michael Aaron Fay, 17, was arraigned in Putnam County Common Pleas Court on two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Blaine Romes, 14, and Blake Romes, 17.

William Kluge, a Lima attorney appointed by the court to represent the teen, entered not guilty pleas on his behalf on the two counts and four other felony charges related to the slayings of the two boys on May 9.

The Fay youth, who lived with the victims, their mother, and his mother in the mobile home in Ottawa where the slayings occurred, told Judge Randall Basinger he was a high school junior. He said very little during the 10-minute hearing, giving “yes” and “no” responses to questions asked by the judge.

A Putnam County grand jury handed up the six-count indictment against the Fay youth on Wednesday, just a week after a juvenile court judge certified him to be tried as an adult and bound the case over to Common Pleas.

In addition to aggravated murder, he is charged with two counts of abuse of a corpse and one count each of motor vehicle theft and tampering with evidence.

The teen’s mother, Victoria Fay, sat alone in the front bench in the Common Pleas courtroom. The victims’ mother, Michelle Grothause, watched the hearing on a nearby bench, surrounded by reporters, photographers, and other media.

Mr. Kluge was appointed in May to represent the Fay youth on delinquency charges in Putnam Count Juvenile Court. At Thursday’s hearing, the attorney told Judge Basinger that his client wanted to waive his constitutional right to have the case proceed to trial within 90 days.

“I told him that is not enough time to prepare for the case appropriately. He is prepared to waive his right for a speedy trial,” Mr. Kluge said.

Judge Basinger did not set a trial date. He said a pretrial hearing would be scheduled within the next month. He also continued the $5 million bond set in juvenile court to keep the Fay youth in the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center in Bowling Green.

The Fay youth and the teenage brothers were reported missing by Ms. Grothause about 5:30 a.m. May 9 after she returned home from work. She found a vehicle missing, a handgun in the living room, and blood throughout the trailer.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert several hours later, canceling the statewide notice when police arrested the Fay youth outside a Columbus gas station. He gave information to authorities that led to the locations of Blaine and Blake Romes’ bodies.

Prosecutors said the teens were each shot once. However, specifications indicating that a gun was used in the slayings are not included in the aggravated murder charges.

Gary Lammers, county prosecutor, said a decision was made not to ask the grand jury for the gun specification.

“We just felt that it wasn’t necessary to put that language in the indictment at this point,” he said, adding that the specification could be sought later.

Contact Mark Reiter at


or 419-724-6199.