Also accused in the murders are Wagner IV’s brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26; his father, George “Billy” Wagner III, 47; and his mother, Angela Wagner, 48. Prosecutors have said child custody is a major issue in the murder case.
In addition to revenge against Gov.-elect DeWine, the prosecutors said an attorney general’s special agent and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader were also subjects of the revenge conversations.
MORE: Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Pike County case
Reader, who has previously discussed how the eight-victim massacre has emotionally affected him, stood behind the bar next to the defendant’s table, where Wagner IV sat chained in an orange Ross County Jail jumpsuit. The four capital co-defendants are held in different jails across Ohio.
As with Tuesday's arraignment when Jake Wagner pleaded not guilty, surviving members of the Rhoden, Manley and Gilley families filled the courtroom's gallery for Wagner IV's arraignment.
Across the aisle sat Wagner IV’s aunt Robin Wagner, who has previously declined comment to the media. Before the arraignment, she sat beside her mother Fredericka’s attorney, who relayed a message to one of Wagner IV’s attorneys: “She just wants you to pass on to George that she loves him.”
Wagner IV is represented in court by attorneys Richard Nash, of Portsmouth, and Charles Knight, of Pomeroy.