George Wagner IV appears in Pike County court for brief pre-trial hearing

Pike County

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — A suspect in one of Ohio’s most notorious mass murders appeared in a Pike County courtroom Monday afternoon for a brief pre-trial hearing.  

George Wagner IV, who is accused in the fatal shooting of eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016, appeared in civilian clothes with two of his attornies as well as being flanked by several sheriff’s deputies during the five-minute hearing.

Wagner has previously pleaded not guilty to 22 counts, including eight counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications.  

Wagner, along with his parents and younger brother, are all charged for the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in four separate homes in April of 2016.  

The main takeaway from Monday’s hearing was an agreement between Wagner’s defense team and the prosecutor to have the state pay for experts to analyze evidence recently turned over to the defense from the prosecutor’s office.

On Friday, George Wagner IV’s mother, Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to 14 of 22 charges against her, including conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated burglary, and tampering with evidence. The plea agreement did not include eight charges of aggravated murder. Prosecutors are recommending she be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Edward “Jake” Wagner also took a plea deal in April, pleading guilty to all charges in exchange for prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty.  

George “Billy” Wagner, the father to George and Edward, and husband to Angela, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.  

George Wagner IV is currently scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 25.

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