Wagner mother appears in court for pre-trial hearing in Rhoden family massacre
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - One of the suspects in the Pike County Massacre appeared again in court Wednesday afternoon for a pre-trial hearing.
Angela Wagner, her husband, and two sons are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016.
The judge set another hearing date for Angela on Feb. 25, 2020.
He also made note of the fact that Angela was wearing her jail uniform whereas the other defendants have appeared in civilian clothing.
The judge said he will grant Angela that right as well if the defense requests it.
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.
Angela’s mother Rita Newcomb, 65, and Billy’s mother Fredericka Wagner, 76, were accused of assisting with covering up the killings.
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However, Newcomb withdrew her plea of not guilty in Pike County Common Pleas Court last week and entered a plea of guilty to an obstruction official business charge, a misdemeanor.
When Judge Randy Deering asked Newcomb if she was coerced into pleading guilty, she responded: “It’s not a good, Christian thing to lie, so I didn’t want to do that anymore.”
She was accused of forging custody documents related to the case and then lying about it to a grand jury and to investigators.
During a September hearing for Angela Wagner, Deering ruled she can no longer make and receive phone calls or write and receive letters.
Prosecutors have said Wagner and her mother were talking in violation of the court’s order.
The victims in the massacre 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, most several times, according to autopsy records.
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