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Ross, Romano plead not guilty to unrelated charges

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 12:52 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 7:00 a.m. CDT
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Michael W. Romano, 54, was charged in January in connection with the seven-year-old deaths of his parents, Nick and Gloria Romano. In 2006
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William J. Ross, 62, was charged in November with concealing a homicide after a caretaker discovered skeletal remains in a sealed room of his home in unincorporated McHenry

WOODSTOCK – Two men who arrived at the McHenry County Jail last week from Las Vegas both pleaded not guilty Tuesday to unrelated charges.

Michael W. Romano, 54, is accused in the 2006 double homicide of his father and stepmother, Nick and Gloria Romano. He remains in custody in lieu of $3 million bond.

He’s been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. An assistant public defender has been appointed to represent him.

The Romanos were found shot execution style in their home outside Crystal Lake. Michael Romano reported their deaths and told police he was checking on the couple at 3 a.m. when they hadn’t responded to his phone calls.

Michael Romano had been living with his mother in Las Vegas and driving a cab, according to a financial affidavit.

William J. Ross, 62, was charged with concealing a homicide after a maintenance worker in November found skeletal remains in a sealed room inside of his home outside McHenry.

No one has been charged in connection with the death of 49-year-old Jacqueline R. Schaefer.

Ross posted 10 percent of his bond – or $10,000 – on Saturday and was released. He has retained Crystal Lake-based attorney Henry Sugden to represent him. Prosecutors on Tuesday handed Sugden more than 1,000 pages of discovery and ordered DNA testing.

Concealing a homicide is a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison.

Both men had been living in the Las Vegas area when they were arrested. They were transported from Clark County, Nev., and returned to McHenry County late last week.

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