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Wagner mother charged in Pike Co. massacre appears in court

Updated: Jun. 24, 2020 at 1:24 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - One of the suspects in the Pike County massacre appeared in court Wednesday afternoon.

Angela Wagner and her attorneys said there weren’t any objections to the withdrawal of the Attorney General’s Office from the prosecution team.

They also requested that Wagner be allowed to receive books after her mailing privileges had been suspended when prosecutors said she talked to her mother, Rita Newcomb, in violation of the court’s order.

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.

Angela’s mother, Rita Newcomb, 65, and Billy’s mother Fredericka Wagner, 76, were accused of assisting with covering up the killings.

All charges against Fredericka were dropped in July 2019.

Newcomb pleaded guilty to obstruction of official business, a misdemeanor, in Dec. 2019.

On Monday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office was permitted to withdraw from prosecution.

The judge approved the AG office’s request during a hearing Monday for one of the suspects.

Deputy Attorney General Carol O’Brien filed motions Friday in all four suspects’ cases notifying the court agents that the Bureau of Criminal Investigation would continue its work, but the office no longer will provide prosecutors to assist Pike County.

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 April 22, 2016, most several times, according to autopsy records.

Authorities have said the motive of the slayings stemmed in part over a custody dispute over a young child Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden had together.

READ MORE | Pike County Massacre

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