Wagner son charged in the murder of the mother of his child waived speedy trial

Jake Wagner appears in court

PIKE COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The final member of the Wagner family facing charges in the 2016 Pike County massacre waived his right to a speedy trial in court on Thursday.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26, who fathered 5-year-old Sophia with Hanna Mae Rhoden, is one of four members of his family charged with murder in the brutal, execution-style slayings of members of the Rhoden family in April 2016.

He is scheduled to appear back in court on May 14.

His father George "Billy Wagner, 47, mother Angela, 48, and older brother George Wagner IV, 37, are all charged with aggravated murder and face the possibility of the death penalty.

All three family members have already appeared in court for their pre-trial hearings.

Wagner’s two grandmothers, Fredericka Wagner and Rita Newcomb, are charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.

They faced a judge Friday.

Wagner is a key part of the case, according to prosecutors. He fathered a daughter, Sophia, with Hanna Rhoden, 19, one of the victims fatally shot in her home in Pike County.

Then-Ohio Attorney General, now-Governor Mike DeWine said a custody dispute over Sophia, who is now 5 years old, is a factor in the massacre that wiped out eight members of the Rhoden family.

During Wagner’s last court appearance Jan. 24, his attorneys Gregory Myers and Williams Moody made several complaints.

They wanted their client to appear in court without handcuffs, but instead with a stun-belt. That feature was not yet ready in Pike County for Wagner to use.

They also argued that Wagner should be allowed to have contact with his aunt and uncle and also be allowed to ask how his immediate family members are doing.

In addition to the aggravated murder charges, Wagner’s charges include conspiring with his family to kill the Rhoden family since Jan. 1, 2016, according to his indictment.

He also is accused of buying various items including a net that attaches to a gun to collect spent shell casings, ammunition, and items to build a silencer and then helping to get rid of evidence such as the victims’ phones and surveillance system.

Jake Wagner is also charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor for having sexual contact with Hanna Rhoden when she was 15 and he was 20, his indictment shows.

The victims are 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.

All were all shot in the head -- most several times -- according to autopsy records released in September.

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.

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