The man charged with committing two murders in Rome last week is pleading not guilty.

Aaron Welch, 26, was arraigned in Rome City Court on Tuesday and is due back in court Friday for a felony hearing.

That proceeding will determine if the case against him can proceed to a grand jury.

Welch, who is from Schnectady, is charged with one count each of first and second degree murder in the stabbing deaths of Stephanie Morrison and Shawn Kessler.

In court Tuesday, Welch did not speak. His public defender, David Arthur, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.

Rome Police say they apprehended Welch a few hours after the incident, and found Welch with self inflicted cuts to his body.