Court filings detail infidelity, financial problems behind 12-year-old arson murder case

Holly Zachariah The Columbus Dispatch

Mar 9, 2020 at 11:39 AM

Newly filed court documents detail for the first time how and why investigators think a man killed his family in a Madison County arson fire 12 years ago. Peter Romans was indicted last year on charges that include aggravated murder, murder and aggravated arson in connection with the deaths of his then-wife and two children.

New court documents detail publicly for the first time how investigators think a man killed his family at their rented Madison County home 12 years ago, and hint at potential motives.

The documents filed Friday in Madison County Common Pleas Court say Peter Romans was in financial trouble, having lost the family home to foreclosure less than a year before the fire that killed his wife, Billi Romans, and their two children, 12-year-old Caleb and 16-year-old Ami, just after midnight on April 6, 2008.

The bill of particulars also says that within weeks of the fire, Romans moved in with a couple who were among the Romans’ closest friends and either began or continued a relationship with the wife. After Robin Fritz’s divorce, Romans married her.

Romans, 59, was arrested at his Pickaway County home in Orient on July 29 after a specially called grand jury indicted him on charges of aggravated murder, murder and aggravated arson. He has pleaded not guilty. The previously unsolved case was featured in 2011 as part of the Dispatch’s “Killers Among Us” series.On the night of the fire, both Billi […]

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