PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Edward “Jake” Wagner, the youngest Wagner family member charged in the Pike County massacre that claimed the lives of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016, appeared in court on Monday.
Wagner’s older brother George IV appeared in Pike County court Monday morning where a trial date of Sept. 4 was set.
Wagner’s last pre-trial hearing is set for Sept. 17, he should learn then when his murder trial will begin.
Jake Wagner, 26, his father George “Billy” Wagner, 47, mother Angela Wanger, 48, and older brother George Wagner IV, 27, 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.
In addition to murder charges, 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.
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.
Ohio Governor and then-Attorney General Mike DeWine says the custody of Sophia, the daughter of Jake Wagner and Hanna Mae Rhoden, was a major factor in the massacre.
His last court appearance in May saw nothing out of the ordinary. The attorneys for both sides briefly discussed motions in a brief 10-15 minute hearing.
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.
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.