Three of the four members of the Wagner family accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County have appeared in court this week, and the Dayton Daily News has been at those court appearances and continuing deep reporting in that region.
Here’s what you need to know about what has happened this week:
Jake Wagner, 26, was in court on Tuesday. He is facing 23 charges, including eight counts of aggravated murder, each with a death penalty specification. One count alleges unlawful sexual conduct with one of the victims, Hanna Rhoden, mother of Wagner’s daughter, Sophia. Prosecutors allege a custody dispute is at the heart of the case.
Also Tuesday, Judge Randy Deering issued a gag order, requested by both the prosecutors and the defense counsel, which prevents them and law enforcement from speaking to the media about the case.
George Wagner IV, 27, was in court on Wednesday. The uncle of the little girl shared by his brother Jake and one of the eight victims his immediate family is accused of killing, he was the most vocal proponent of the Wagners exacting revenge on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine if any of them were arrested in the 2016 murder case, prosecutors said.
Angela Wagner, 48, was in court on Thursday. The mother of Jake and George Wagner IV, she shuffled into the courtroom with reading glasses in her shackled hands.
After the hearing, one of Angela Wagner’s attorneys, Robert Krapenc, asked her relatives not to discuss the case when communicating with her.
“You can talk about the weather, you can talk about football, but please don’t talk about this case,” Krapenc said in the courtroom at a volume audible to others present in the still-packed room.
Fredericka Wagner — one of two grandmothers who pleaded not guilty to charges they helped their children and grandchildren cover-up an eight-person massacre — has asked a judge to let her leave the farm where she is on house arrest.
Wagner’s attorney made the request this week so that Wagner, 76, could travel about a half-mile to a group home she runs for disabled individuals.