Franklin County grand jury indicts Owensville man for murder in wife’s 2017 death in roll-over traffic crash

Dave Marner

An Owensville man indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in December for allegedly murdering his wife in a 2017 car crash was arrested Friday by Owensville police  who were responding to an incident on Trailwood Drive.

Robert Claude Rothermich, 38, was at a residence in the 1900 block of Trailwood when police responded to a separate and unrelated incident there, according to Owensville Police Sgt. Scott Griffith. Police learned Rothermich was wanted on a Franklin County warrant issued following a Dec. 19 session of a standing grand jury.

Rothermich was indicted on one count alleging the class A felony of murder in the second degree of his wife, Jennifer Marie Rothermich, who was 37.  The indictment alleges she died in a May 24, 2017, car crash while her husband was in felony possession of the controlled substance heroin. The indictment also charges Rothermich with one count of the class D felony for possession of a controlled substance.

A cash only $75,000 bond was set by Presiding Circuit Judge I.I. “Ike” Lamke.

The couple was traveling  west on U.S. 50 on the evening of May 24 when the 1999 Ford Contour he was driving went behind a guardrail east of the Highway 47 South junction near Burgandy Drive. The car overturned into a creek bed. She was ejected and found trapped beneath the car. 

He was also ejected and received serious injuries, according to Union police who investigated the crash. Police found 34 capsules on him containing a substance which later was determined to be heroin. Jennifer Rothermich, who previously lived in the Gerald community, was pronounced dead that evening at Mercy Hospital Washington. Prosecutor Bob Parks said the case will focus on how Robert Rothermich was high on heroin at the time of the crash.