WOODSTOCK – Two high-profile inmates have arrived at the McHenry County Jail from Las Vegas. Both Michael W. Romano and William J. Ross appeared in rights court Thursday morning. They had been living in Las Vegas area, where they had been in custody awaiting extradition on unrelated charges.
Romano, 54, is accused of the seven-year-old double homicide of his father, Nick Romano, 71, and stepmother, Gloria Romano, 65. In November 2006, the elder Romanos were found in their home just outside Crystal Lake with gunshot wounds to the back of their heads.
Michael Romano was charged in January with four counts of first-degree murder. His bond was set at $3 million. On Thursday, McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer appointed a public defender to represent him.
According to a financial affidavit, Michael Romano had been living with his mother and stepfather and working as a cab driver in Las Vegas.
"You don't still have the job at the cab company?" Feetterer asked. Romano said he did not.
Police long had suspected Michael Romano, who said he found his parents dead at 3 a.m. and told investigators he was checking on the couple when they didn't answer their phones.
As the investigation progressed, Romano stopped cooperating with detectives and only would speak to them through an attorney, authorities have said.
It's unclear what new evidence, if any, connects Michael Romano to the alleged crime.
Ross, 62, was charged in November with concealing a homicide after a caretaker discovered skeletal remains in a bag inside a sealed room of his home in unincorporated McHenry.
The remains later were identified as 49-year-old Jacqueline R. Schaefer. No one has been charged in connection with her death.
Ross's bond was set at $100,000. He told Feetterer that he would be able to post the $10,000 required for his release. Crystal Lake attorney Henry Sugden has been retained to represent him.
"I will have to get the means to get it here," Ross told the judge. "Yes, I can post it."
The relationship between Ross and Schaefer remains unclear. In some McHenry County court documents, she’s called a household member and listed as a tenant in others.
Ross twice was charged with domestic battery stemming from incidents involving Schaefer. The first, in August 2007, was later dropped, and a second from September that year was amended to misdemeanor battery for which he received six months of probation, and was ordered to attend DUI school and to pay a fine.
Both Romano and Ross are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday before Judge Sharon Prather.