First trial date set for Wagners facing murder charges in Pike Co. massacre
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The first trial date for the four Wagner family members facing murder charges in the Pike County massacre was set Monday.
George Wagner IV will stand trial Sept. 4 for the brutal, execution-style murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016.
The eldest Wagner brother’s trial is expected to run through the month of October, his attorneys say.
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George Wagner IV, 27, Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26, and their parents George “Billy” Wagner III, 27, and Angela Wagner, 48, are all charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family.
All four family members face the possibility of the death penalty.
His hearing, like most of the Wagner hearings, was brief, lasting around 10 minutes.
Defense attorneys Charles Knight and Richard Nash along with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk and Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa discussed a previous motion for discovery.
All four attorneys along with the judge agreed of a deadline for Friday to turn over files associated with the case.
The attorneys also agreed upon July 24 as the next date for a pre-trial hearing and also discussed making that the deadline for any and all motion requests.
During his last court appearance, his attorneys made an admittedly unusual request. They asked if it would be possible for George IV to be moved back into solitary confinement.
He spent time in solitary confinement following his initial arrest, but had 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.
His younger brother Jake Wagner was also in court Monday.
Both brothers now appear in court wearing plain-clothing and without shackles, per a request by their attorneys.
Six members of the Wagner family were arrested November 13, 2018 and charged in the brutal, execution-style murders of the eight Rhoden family members.
The Wagner brothers’ grandmothers, Fredericka Wagner and Rita Newcomb, are charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.
READ MORE | Pike County Massacre: 3 years later
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.
According to an autopsy report released in September, all of the victims were shot in the head — most several times.
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