PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — A man accused of taking part in the killing of eight people in April 2016 was in court Monday for a pretrial hearing.
Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner appeared in civilian clothing and without restraints for the hearing, which covered discovery in the case against Wagner. The judge in the case said he expects to receive word from prosecutors soon that evidence discovery is complete.
Wagner as well as three others — George “Billy” Wagner, Angela Wagner, and George Wagner IV — are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family – Christopher Rhoden Sr., Dana Rhoden, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Jr., Hanna Rhoden, Hannah Gilley, Gary Rhoden, and Kenneth Rhoden.
Edward Wagner fathered a child with Hanna Rhoden. Prosecutors believe a custody dispute over that child may have been a motive for the killings.
Wagner’s attorney said in court that some inmates at the Franklin County Jail, where Wagner is being held, have put forth a “focused effort” to get Wagner to talk about his case.
The attorney believes this is an attempt by those inmates, who he called “jailhouse snitches” to strike a deal with the courts to provide testimony in return for a deal in their own cases.
I just wanted to say that in the event there comes a day some jail inmate might surface to claim Mr. Wagner’s in there talking because I do not believe he is,” the attorney said. “He stands his ground and repeatedly says, ‘I’m not allowed to talk about my case. That’s what my lawyers tell me.’ It’s been a little more persistent recently and I just wanted to log that into the record.”
Edward Wagner is expected back in court for another pretrial hearing on April 8. according to his attorney.