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Wagner patriarch in court on ‘Pike County massacre’ charges

Updated: Dec. 9, 2019 at 2:39 PM EST
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WAVERLY, Ohio (FOX19) - The Wagner family patriarch facing murder charges in the deaths of eight members of the same family in April 2016 appeared in court for the first time since September Monday afternoon.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

George “Billy” Wagner III had not appeared in a Pike County courtroom since Sept. 17 when he shared a court date with his youngest son.

Wagner, his wife Angela, and their sons, Edward “Jake” Wagner and George Wagner IV, is charged with aggravated murder in the 2016 slayings of the Rhoden family.

All have pleaded not guilty and are being held at separate jails.

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 Sophia, the daughter of Jake Wagner and Hanna Mae Rhoden, who is now 6, was a factor in the massacre.

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Billy Wagner’s hearing Monday went the same way his previous hearing in September went: run-of-the-mill motions hearing discussing multiple small items such as the sharing of information between the prosecution and defense.

The defense asked for an extension on the deadline to file substantive motions and Judge Randy Deering agreed. Wagner’s attorneys say they needed more time to go through their files and evidence they have compared to what the prosecution has.

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