Jury selection begins for George Wagner IV’s trial in Pike County Massacre
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Jury selection is underway for George Wagner IV’s trial in the 2016 Pike County Massacre.
It has been more than six years since eight members of the Rhoden family were killed in their homes.
Now, after countless hearings and court appearances, the process to select a jury is underway.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the area because the court wants to protect the identities of potential jurors who started showing up at the courthouse around 9 a.m. Monday.
Pike County Circuit Judge Randy Deering told each potential juror that any personal or religious objection to the death penalty is not grounds for dismissal from jury selection.
George IV, along with his father Billy, is accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family as they slept in their homes in April 2016. George IV is on trial for aggravated murder. Wagner’s brother Jake and mother Angela have pleaded guilty to their involvement in the murders.
Nearly every potential juror who was questioned Monday had a physical or emotional connection to the Pike County murders.
One juror said she had a “brother who was good friends with Chris Rhoden, Jr. and wasn’t sure if she would be able to look at crime scene photos.” The juror was excluded.
The judge accepted a woman who said it would be “hard not to use outside knowledge when considering the case.”
A juror, who said she worked on social services cases that included the surviving Rhoden children, was excluded from the pool.
The potential jurors have to convince Judge Deering that they can fairly weigh the evidence with a “clean slate.”
Jury selection will go until Aug. 29 when the trial begins.
Fourteen potential jurors a day will come to court. They will either be excused or move on to the next round of questions until a jury of 12, with at least four alternates, will be seated in the multiple murder trial of George IV.
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