Pike County massacre: Jake Wagner waives right to speedy trial until Oct. 2021

Updated: Dec. 22, 2020 at 9:01 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Edward “Jake” Wagner waived his right to a speedy trial through October 2021 in the Rhoden family massacre case.

During the hearing on Tuesday his attorneys expected to argue against ballistic and shoe print evidence, however, Prosecutor Angie Canepa said the defense is not entitled to a hearing on those issues.

The defense also objected to Andy Wilson, an advisor to Gov. Mike DeWine, serving as a special prosecutor on the case.

Wagner’s attorneys said this created a conflict because Wilson may advise DeWine on policy issues related to the public defender’s office.

Wilson argued that he’s not communicating with the governor other than dates and the judge promised to rule on the issue soon.

Wagner is charged with aggravated murder and facing the potential death penalty along with three relatives: His father, George “Billy” Wagner III; his mother, Angela Wagner and his older brother, George Wagner IV.

All the Wagners have pleaded not guilty and have been held at separate jails in Ohio since their arrests more than two years ago, in November 2018.

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Jake Wagner was the ex-boyfriend of one of the victims, Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19.

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

Wagner’s attorneys are challenging ballistic and shoe impression evidence collected at the crime scenes, according to court motions they have filed.

At a hearing for Jake’s brother earlier this year, a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified there were three murder weapons and one of the guns, a Walther Colt 1911 .22 pistol, was the type Jake Wagner owned at one time.

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According to autopsy records, the entire Rhoden family were shot in the head on April 22, 2016, most several times.

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.

Frustration has been mounting due to several delays in the case and trials of Wagners.

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