Eldest Wagner son asks to be moved back into solitary confinement

Eldest Wagner son asks to be moved back into solitary confinement
The eldest of the Wagner sons, George IV, made his third appearance in a Pike County courtroom two days after his mother Angela sat in the same spot.

PIKE COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Pre-trial hearings for members of the Wagner family continued Friday afternoon.

The eldest of the Wagner sons, George IV, made his third appearance in a Pike County courtroom two days after his mother Angela sat in the same spot.

The eldest Wagner son, George IV, is back in court facing charges in the brutal, execution-style murders of 8 members of the Rhoden family. READ MORE >> https://bit.ly/2Oo8dwY

Posted by FOX19 on Friday, March 22, 2019

In an admittedly unusual move by George IV’s attorneys, he asked if it would be possible to be moved back into solitary confinement.

George IV spent time in solitary confinement following his initial arrest, but has since been moved to a regular cell.

His attorneys said the request had nothing to do with how he was being treated or his safety. George IV made the request through his attorney because he wants to be able to “read the Bible and do the things that he likes to do,” his attorney said.

Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk said the Ross County Jail is currently under construction and he doubted it would be possible.

The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes as the judge asked questions about how George IV was feeling in regards to his treatment by his attorneys. They also discussed motions that were in the works.

His next court appearance will be May 23.

All four members of the Wagner family are accused of brutally slaying eight members of the Rhoden family in execution-style shootings in April 2016.

Angela Wagner, Billy Wagner, 47, and their sons Edward “Jake," 26, and George IV, 27, are charged with aggravated murder and face the possibility of the death penalty.

All have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bond at separate Ohio jails.

George IV was allowed to wearing plain clothes instead of a jail uniform during last court appearance Jan. 9.

Attorneys for both sides discussed motions and orders for no contact between family members during the quick hearing.

Throughout his first two court appearances, George IV could be seen with a stoic expression and spoke very little.

The slayings are considered the state’s most complex homicide investigation to date, resulting in more than 1,000 tips, hundreds of people interviewed and dozens of search warrants, officials said.

Authorities believe custody over George IV’s niece Sophia, 5, is a motivating factor in the killings. Sophia is the daughter of Jake Wagner and Hannah Mae Rhoden.

The victims were family patriarch Christopher Rhoden, 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; his cousin, Gary Rhoden; his former 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.

The Rhodens were found in four separate trailers at two locations near Piketon the morning of April 22, 2016.

Angela’s mother Rita Newcomb, 65, and Billy’s mother Fredericka Wagner, 76, are accused of assisting with covering up the killings.

Angela’s hearing Wednesday was delayed about an hour and a half leading to speculation something significant was being discussed in the judge’s chambers.

Her attorneys filed 49 motions on her behalf with the court, all of a non-substantive nature, according to the judge.

Those motions were not heard Wednesday because discovery of evidence is not complete yet.

George IV’s grandmothers are the next family members scheduled to appear in court. Both hearings are scheduled for March 28.

Billy Wagner will appear in court next March 29 and the youngest Wagner, Sophia’s father Jake, will appear in court April 4.

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