Pike County massacre: Hearing canceled for Wagner son

Courtroom mix-up in Rhoden murder case

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The initial court appearance for one of the Pike County murder suspects was abruptly postponed Friday.

Jake Wagner was due to appear in Franklin County Municipal Court at 1 p.m., but the case was dropped from the docket by lunchtime.

Court officials could not say why and it’s not clear now when Wagner will face a judge.

He is held without bond at the Franklin County Jail in Columbus.

Hearings already have been held this week for his grandmothers, who are charged with covering up the crime and impeding the investigation, and for his father, who also faces murder charges.

Pike County massacre: Wagner family patriarch waives extradition

A custody dispute involving his young daughter with one of the Rhoden family massacre victims is a factor in the case, according Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

“My team will be at all arraignments,” DeWine said Friday.

Three generations of the Wagner family were indicted this week in connection with the state’s most complex homicide investigation and one that sent fear throughout Pike County.

The Rhoden family was found fatally shot in four residences on two properties the morning of April 22, 2016.

The victims are Christopher Rhoden, 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; his cousin, Gary Rhoden; 37; Christopher Rhoden’s ex-wife, Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37, and their children: Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Frankie’s fiancé, Hannah Gilley, 20.

Two babies and a small child who were in the homes were not harmed.

READ MORE: Pike County Massacre

Jake Wagner, father of Sophia Wagner, was in a custody dispute with Hanna Rhoden, who was killed in the massacre. Provided Jake Wagner, the father of Sophia Wagner, created a GoFundMe account to help defray attorney costs related to his custody battle. Sophia is the daughter of Hanna Rhoden, who was killed with seven other members of her family April 22. (Photo: Provided/The Enquirer)
Jake Wagner, father of Sophia Wagner, was in a custody dispute with Hanna Rhoden, who was killed in the massacre. Provided Jake Wagner, the father of Sophia Wagner, created a GoFundMe account to help defray attorney costs related to his custody battle. Sophia is the daughter of Hanna Rhoden, who was killed with seven other members of her family April 22. (Photo: Provided/The Enquirer)

Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden’s daughter, Sophia, who was 3 at the time, was not there when the shootings occurred.

Wagner, 26, and his parents, George "Billy” Wagner III, 47, Angela Wagner, 48, and older brother, George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26, are all charged with aggravated murder with the possibility for the death penalty.

They face several additional charges including conspiracy, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence.

Jake is also charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor for having sexual contact with Hanna when she was 15 and he was 20 years old.

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