Wagner brother in court for motions hearing in Pike County massacre

George Wagner IV
George Wagner IV
Updated: Sep. 20, 2019 at 11:03 AM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - The eldest Wagner brother appeared in court Friday morning for a motions hearing.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

The murder trial for George Wagner IV was originally slated to begin Sept. 4, but it was pushed back during his last pretrial hearing July 24 to an undetermined date.

During that hearing, Wagner’s defense attorneys accepted two terabytes of evidence from the state and Pike County Circuit Court Judge Randy Deering gave them more time to prepare their case.

PREVIOUS | ‘Great deal of’ evidence pushes back trial date for oldest Wagner brother

The prosecutor, who calls this one of the most complex criminal cases in state history, says there are more than 2 million items on the disc. The evidence includes documents, recordings, videos, pictures, cell phone records and forensic reports.

Friday morning, Deering went through a number of motions, including one about the amount of evidence the defense is still trying to comb through.

Special Prosecuting Attorney Angela Canepa agreed that two terabytes of information would take months to comb through and said the state has agreed to provide a focus of the evidence to the defense to help them narrow down what they need to analyze before the trial.

The 27-year-old Wagner, along with his father Billy, mother Angela and younger brother Jake are accused of the execution-style murders of eight members of the Rhoden family.

The victims are 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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His younger brother Jake, father, and mother all appeared in court for their own motions hearing throughout the week.

During a previous hearing, 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.

PREVIOUS | Eldest Wagner son asks to be moved back into solitary confinement

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.

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