Pike Co. judge sets evidence deadline in case against Wagner mother

Updated: Jul. 3, 2019 at 2:47 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Angela Wagner made her first court appearance in nearly four months Wednesday afternoon.

The last time she appeared in a Pike County courtroom was March 20.

A Pike County judge set a deadline for all evidence to be turned over in the case against Wagner.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

She was scheduled to be in court in May, but that hearing was continued until July 3.

“By July 15, the defense will provide the state with sufficient storage devices to accommodate the balance of the discovery and it’s my understanding that it approaches or approximates four terra bytes of material that is still needed be delivered," Judge Randy Deering said.

The prosecution estimated that 4 terra bytes of information would take two weeks of a continuous download before all the information is transferred.

Wednesday’s pretrial hearing followed the same format as her previous hearings: an extended amount of time behind closed doors before discussing previously filed motions.

Wagner told the judge she is O.K. with her attorneys and how much she sees them and her attorneys said they are fine with the process of the motions they’ve filed thus far.

Unlike her sons, Wagner did not appear in court in plain clothing. She was handcuffed and wearing her jail uniform with a pair of brightly colored Crocs.

During her court appearance in March, court was delayed for about an hour and half leading to speculation that something significant was being discussed in the judge’s chambers.

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Angela Wagner, 48, has filed 49 motions with the court, all of a non-substantive nature, according to the judge. It appears everything was worked out behind the scenes as the judge ruled that it was premature to hear the motions March 20 because discovery of evidence is not yet complete.

Wagner, her husband and two sons are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016.

Angela Wagner, Billy Wagner, 47, and their sons Edward “Jake," 26, and George IV, 27, are charged with aggravated murder and face the possibility of the death penalty.

All have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bond at separate Ohio jails.

RELATED | Pike County Massacre: Grandmother trial postponed

Angela’s mother Rita Newcomb, 65, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Newcomb’s trial was originally scheduled to begin July 8, but her final pretrial hearing was continued on June 14.

She will now have her final pretrial hearing July 25 and stand trial October 21.

The state recently dropped all charges against Billy Wagner’s mother Fredericka Wagner, 76, who was scheduled to stand trial July 29.

She was also charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

RELATED | Wagner family matriarch claims innocence as case is dismissed

Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa did not want to comment after the charges were dismissed against the 76-year-old grandmother so we may never know whether or not the prosecution believed they had enough evidence to convict Wagner.

The victims were 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.

The Rhodens were found in four separate trailers at two locations near Piketon the morning of April 22, 2016.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre: 3 years later

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, officials said.

Authorities have referred to the case as a puzzle with a possible motive of a heated custody battle over a toddler, Sophia Wagner, who is now 5 years old. She is the daughter of Jake Wagner and Hannah Rhoden.

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