Pike County grandmother charged in massacre cover-up freed on bond

6 charged in connection to Rhoden family slayings

Pike County grandmothers arraigned

PIKE COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - One of the two Pike County grandmothers charged with obstruction and perjury in the Rhoden family murders was freed on bond Thursday.

Fredericka Wagner, 76, is the mother of George “Billy” Wagner III, who along with his wife and two adult sons is accused of carrying out the killings.

Defense attorney James Owens said Fredericka Wagner fervently believes her son is innocent, along with her daughter-in-law and two grandsons.

“She’s a tough old bird who’s willing to express her opinion,” said Owens.

Six charged in connection to the Rhoden family massacre.
Six charged in connection to the Rhoden family massacre. (Source: Schupp, Kim)

Fredericka Wagner, who along with Rita Newcomb, pleaded not guilty for trying to cover up the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family.

The prosecution claimed Fredericka Wagner had a lot of money and then launched a stunning allegation about a secret meeting at her home that included her son and his family. The prosecution said the conversation surrounded that if one or more of them got arrested, they were to take revenge against anyone who went against them.

That includes Sheriff Charles Reader and Attorney General Mike DeWine, according to the prosecutor.

The prosecutor also said there were discussions on how they would try to make an escape.

Newcomb, 65, is the mother of Angela Wagner. Along with charges of obstruction and perjury, Newcomb is accused of forging custody documents involving her 4-yearold granddaughter, whose father is a member of the Wagner family and mother is a member of the Rhoden family.

The mother, Hannah Rhoden, was one of the eight murdered.

Newcomb’s attorney asked the judge to release his client on her own recognizance.

“She’s worked hard during her life. She’s been a school teacher. She’s been an over-the-road truck operator and she’s been teaching school for several years in the various grades,” said defense attorney Franklin Gerlach. “There’s no risk of flight in this particular matter.”

READ MORE: Pike County Massacre, Timeline: Rhoden family murder investigation, Wagner family patriarch waives extradition

Fredericka Wagner posted a surety bond of $100,000. Newcomb is still held on a $50,000 bond.

Eight members of the Rhoden family were killed in Pike Co. in April 206.
Eight members of the Rhoden family were killed in Pike Co. in April 206.

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