PIKE COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26, who fathered a daughter with slain-Rhoden teen Hanna Mae, 19, appeared in court for a pretrial hearing Tuesday afternoon.
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Wagner is a key part of the case, according to prosecutors.
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.
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.
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All were all shot in the head -- most several times -- according to autopsy records released in September.
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.
Wagner, 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.
His two grandmothers, Fredericka Wagner and Rita Newcomb, are charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.
During his last court date April 4, the youngest Wagner waived his right to a speedy trial.
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.
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.