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Trial continued for Pike County grandmother accused of covering up Rhoden family murders

Updated: Nov. 18, 2019 at 9:15 AM EST
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WAVERLY, Ohio (FOX19) - Rita Newcomb’s trial has been continued until Dec. 2.

Jury selection was originally expected to begin Monday for the Pike County grandmother accused of helping to cover up the execution-style killings of eight members of the same family in rural southern Ohio.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

Friday, Pike County Common Pleas Court Judge Randy Deering denied the state’s motion to delay Rita Newcomb’s trial.

She is charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and three counts of forgery.

Her trial has already been delayed twice, most recently on Oct. 7, to ensure the availability of one of the investigators.

Newcomb is the mother of Angela Wagner. She, along with husband, George “Billy” Wagner III and the couple’s sons, Edward “Jake” Wagner and George Wagner IV, is charged with aggravated murder.

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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.

All were shot in the head April 22, 2016, most several times, according to autopsy records.

Gov. Mike DeWine said last year the custody of the couple’s daughter, Sophia, who is now 5, was a factor in the massacre.

It is currently unknown why the trial was continued.

In addition to Newcomb, George “Billy" Wagner’s mother, Fredericka Wagner, 76, also was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice in the massacre. But the judge dismissed the case.

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