OTTAWA — The 17-year-old accused of killing two teenage brothers appeared in court Tuesday for the first time as a murder defendant.
Michael Fay is charged with two counts of aggravated murder. He did not enter a plea during the hearing but is expected to enter a written denial, the equivalent of a not-guilty plea if he were in adult court.
Putnam County Juvenile Judge Michael Borer tentatively scheduled June 18 as the date for the hearing to determine whether Fay will be tried as an adult. Due to Fay's age and the charge, a judge who finds probable cause Fay committed the crime has no option but to send the case to adult court, where the boy could face up to life in prison.
Fay is charged with the May 9 deaths of Blake, 17, and Blaine Romes, 14. The two were found dead after Fay fled to Columbus. Fay told authorities where to find their bodies. The brothers and Fay were living in an Ottawa trailer with their mothers, Michelle Grothause and Vicki Fay. The families recently had moved in together.
Borer appointed Lima attorney Bill Kluge and Shannon McAlister to represent Fay.
The judge advised Fay of his Constitutional rights, asking him whether he understood each right. Fay responded with one-word answers.
The judge also read to Fay the complaint giving a very brief account of the charges.
Before the hearing began, Grothause hugged Fay’s brother, Kyle Nichols. They sat together until Kluge told Fay to sit behind his table, away from Grothause, who sat behind the prosecutor’s table.
There is no assigned seating in a courtroom, but the victim’s family traditionally sits behind the prosecution table. The defendant’s family usually is behind the defense attorney’s table.
Fay entered the courtroom wearing a hood that exposed only his eyes. He took it off once inside the courtroom, and the judge ordered journalists not to photograph Fay's face.